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Pear Tarte Tatin

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  • Pears - 8
  • Caster Sugar - 100g
  • Butter - 100g
  • Star Anise - 2
  • Cardamom - 3 Pods
  • Cinnamon - 1 large
  • Brandy - 2 tbs
  • Puff Pastry - 500g

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  • Core the pears, then peel as neatly as possible and halve.
  • If you like, they can be prepared up to a day ahead and kept in the fridge, uncovered, so that they dry out.
  • Tip the sugar, butter, star anise, cardamom and cinnamon into an ovenproof frying pan, about 20cm wide, and place over a high heat until bubbling.
  • Shake the pan and stir the buttery sauce until it separates and the sugar caramelises to a toffee colour.
  • Lay the pears in the pan, then cook in the sauce for 10-12 mins, tossing occasionally, until completely caramelised.
  • Don’t worry about them burning – they won’t – but you want to caramelise them as much as possible.
  • Splash in the brandy and let it flambé, then set the pears aside.
  • Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  • Roll the pastry out to the thickness of a £1 coin.
  • Using a plate slightly larger than the top of the pan, cut out a circle, then press the edges of the circle of pastry to thin them out.
  • When the pears have cooled slightly, arrange them in the pan, cut side up, in a floral shape, with the pears around the edge pointing inwards.
  • Rest the cinnamon stick on the top in the centre, with the cardamom pods scattered around.
  • Drape the pastry over the pears, then tuck the edges down the pan sides and under the fruit (see Gordon’s guide).
  • Pierce the pastry a few times, then bake for 15 mins.
  • If a lot of juice bubbles up the side of the pan, pour it off at this stage (see guide).
  • Reduce oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and bake for 15 mins more until the pastry is golden.
  • Leave the tart to stand for 10 mins, then invert it carefully onto a serving dish.

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