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Spiced Pear Tarte Tatin

Traditional Tarte Tatin uses apples and a classic pastry crust, but this delicious variation substitutes pears and flaky puff pastry. Crystallized ginger packs a gentle heat and plays against the pears’ sweet, floral flavor. Serve wedges of this festive tart with dollops of crème fraîche.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 1/2 lb./250 g), thawed
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 firm, ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into an 11-inch (28-cm) round about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Trim the edges, then refrigerate until ready to use.

Spread 2 Tbs. of the butter over the sides and bottom of a 10-inch (25-cm) round ovenproof fry pan. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the bottom, then place the pears, cut side up, in a tight layer in the pan. Set over medium heat and cook until the pears start to release their juices, about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the pears along with the lemon juice. Dot the top with the remaining 2 Tbs. butter.

Top the pears with the pastry, tucking the edges into the pan to form a rim that encircles the pears. Prick the top with a fork.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, the pears are tender and a thickened, golden syrup forms in the dish, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan. Invert the tart onto a plate, dislodging and replacing any pears that may have stuck to the pan. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013).