6-7 pears (Anjou, Bosc, or Comic) ripe, but firm
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
Flour for dusting
4T salted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
Vanilla ice cream
1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
2. Peel, core, and then cut 6 of the pears into quarters. Set aside. It’s ok if they get brown (There’s an extra if one is bruised or mushy).
3. On your kitchen counter, roll out the puff pastry into an 11x11 inch square.
4. Cut off the corners to make an 11-inch circle (I use a dinner plate as a guide).
5. Place pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Place a 10-inch frying pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, and then add the sugar. Stir until the mixture becomes a light caramel color, about 6-8 minutes. The mixture might become grainy and the butter may separate, but don’t worry. It will all come together in the end.
7. Remove from heat and arrange the pears on their flat side into a tight circular design. Place 2-3 pear pieces into to the middle of the pan and place the remaining pears on top. Use fork to help stabilize the pears as you place them. Be careful: the caramel is hot!!!!
8. Return the pan to the stove. Turn the heat up to medium-high and continue cooking until the caramel thickens and turns a deep golden amber color, about 8-10 minutes. (Spooning the caramel on top of the pears is a good way to check that the caramel is browning but not burning). Remove from the heat. Let cool at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better.
9. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and carefully place the dough in the pan, pressing the dough down on top of the pears.
10. Fold the edges under the pears and press down.
11. Place in 400˚ F oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Check after 20 minutes. If pastry is browning too quickly, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil on top.
12. Remove the tart from oven. The tart will be very juicy. Using a paper towel, so you don’t burn your hand, gently press on the dough to hold the tart in the pan.
13. Then, carefully pour the juice into a small saucepan (I place the saucepan in the sink so that gravity is working with me).
14. Let the tart cool for 20 minutes before carefully flipping the tart onto a serving dish.
15. Place the small saucepan back on the heat and boil down the juice until it forms a thick caramel syrup, about 2-3 minutes. Pour on top of the tart.
16. Cut into slices and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
TIPS & TRICKS
• Pears are picked unripened and shipped to stores. Pears take 3-5 days to ripen, so you need to plan ahead to make this dish. Test the pears by gently pressing near the stem. If it gives slightly, the pears are ripe, but still firm, which is perfect for this dish.
• Plan on an extra pear in case one of the pears is too soft or bruised inside to use.
• When making the caramel, do not multitask! ☺ It is very hot and you can burn yourself very badly (Speaking from experience!!).
• Caramel is very temperamental. Weather, temperature, and humidity can affect it. If the caramel should separate or become grainy, do not worry. Once you add the pears and boil the caramel it will become smooth.
• By allowing the pan and caramel to cool before placing the pastry on top, the pastry will be puffier after it is baked.
• The tart can be made up to step 8 early in the day and baked off later.