Individual pear tarte tatin

Mark Sargeants cute twist on this classic French dessert of fragrant pears, crisp pastry and golden caramel is sure to impress
By Mark Sargeant
Individual pear tarte tatin
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 10 minutes chilling
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the tartes tatin

  • 2 firm pears
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 500g pack ready-made puff pastry
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the caramel

  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g unsalted butter, cubed
  • splash dark rum
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7.

2. For the tartes tatin: peel the pears, halve them lengthways and scoop out the cores using a melon baller, to create a small round hole. Press a star anise into each hole.

3. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out the stalks and insert a piece of vanilla pod into each incision to form a vanilla stalk.

4. Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to a large sheet about 3mm thick and cut the dough into 4 evenly sized pieces.

5. Mould each piece of pastry around the peeled outer side of each pear to form a pastry blanket, leaving the cut-side of the pear exposed. Trim away any excess pastry and place the pears in the fridge, cut-side down on a board or plate to chill while you make the caramel.

6. For the caramel: scatter the sugar for the caramel into a large, heavy-based, ovenproof frying pan and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and turned a golden caramel colour. To prevent the mixture spitting, reduce the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan so the butter dissolves into the caramel. Carefully pour in the rum and swirl around to loosen the caramel.

7. Remove the pears from the fridge and place them cut-side down on top of the caramel in the pan. Generously dust the pastry with icing sugar then transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

8. Leave to stand for a minute or so, then carefully slide a palette knife under each pear and flip it over onto a warm serving plate, pastry-side down.

9. Drizzle over the caramelised pan juices and serve with scoops of vanilla ice-cream.

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