Props supplied by Tracy Rutherford
On Thursday night I watched MasterChef Australia for the first time in many weeks. They often run a segment called “MasterClass” which is an hour-long cooking tutorial; exactly my cup of tea. During this particular episode chef Darren Purchese, of Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, showed some of the contestants how to make the perfect Tarte Tatin. His tip was to cook the pastry over the stovetop first while the caramel colours. While he did this he basted the top of the pastry with the juices which made it nice and sticky after baking. I’d never attempted the dessert before but as I’m always up for a challenge I put the following one together. Using the best seasonal pears, I “pear”-ed them with a delicious chocolate and walnut crumble and my favourite Cookies’n’Cream Ice Cream
Serves 6-8 | Prep time 20 mins | Cooking time 35 mins
- 8 pears (such as Beurré Bosc or William), washed
- 150g light brown muscovado sugar
- 50g butter
- 50g thickened cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 1 sheet sweet shortcrust pastry
- 50g dark chocolate, chopped
- 50g walnuts, toasted, chopped
- Cookies’n’Cream ice cream, to serve
Prepare the pears. Wash and dry the pears. Have and remove the seeds and stems. Set aside. I usually leave the skin on because it cooks down so well. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
Make the caramel. Heat the sugar, butter, cream, vanilla bean and seeds over a low flame in a cast-iron dish, or oven-proof frying pan. I used the base of my tagine which is cast iron and perfect for sealing then finishing in the oven.
Cook the pears. Add the pears skin-side down and cook in the caramel for 5 minutes. Cover the pan with the pastry, making sure to tuck the edges under the pears. Cut a small slit in the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape. Cook for 15 minutes as you baste the top of the pastry with some of the caramel juices. Bake the tart for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Prepare the crumble. Combine the chopped chocolate and walnuts in a small bowl and set aside.
Flip the Tarte Tatin. Carefully invert the tarte onto a large serving plate, taking care to avoid any caramel drips from the sides. Sprinkle with the crumble mixture and serve with the ice-cream.
I went back again to try a version with fresh strawberries, but you why not give it a try with bananas or the classic apple variety.
Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,