The inspiration for this recipe was 1) a newly-purchased Le Creuset tarte tatin pan and 2) a recipe in Food & Wine (http://www.foodandwine...). How can you go wrong with red wine and pears? Add some caramel and pastry to the mix...and I'm in heaven. I make a pâte sucrée crust, but in a pinch, store-bought puff pastry works really well. It theoretically serves 8, but I've made it for 4 and we've licked the plate clean. Actually, we just scooed up the extra caramel in the pan with a spatula.
A few tips
1) watch the red wine caramel carefully and keep over low to medium heat so that it doesn't burn
2) cut your pears into quarters instead of halves; halves are more traditional, but quarters are easier to cut and eat (in the cooked tarte)
This would also be great for Rosh Hashana with apples instead of pears. - koshercamembert —zahavah
Test Kitchen Notes
First and foremost, red wine caramel is a revelation and needs to be used more often. The taste of a really good red wine in caramel is awesome. My tip to novice tarte tatin makers (like myself) would be to not worry if the caramel looks thin. I thought caramel was supposed to look very thick and simmered my pears longer than the time called for in the recipe thinking it would get thicker. As a result, my pears stuck to the pan and flipping the tarte onto a plate ended up producing a slight mess. Although not as pretty as the picture here, it was delicious! I plan to try this again during the holidays as it would be a great special occasion dessert. - VanessaS —VanessaS
1 1/4 cups
butter, partially frozen
red wine caramel and pear tarte tatin
red wine (I've made it with house red, Bordeaux, and Cabernet)
Pâte sucrée. Put all ingredients except the water in food processor. Pulse about a dozen times until the mixture starts to come together. Add ice water a little at a time and pulse a few times with each addition. Stop when the dough looks like couscous. Freeze for about 30 minutes (or store in freezer until the next time you want to make a tarte and then defrost for about 20 minutes so it is easy to roll out).
Preheat. Preheat oven to 400°F
Reduce. Bring wine and cinnamon sticks to a boil, reducing down to about 1/4 C of syrup. This takes about 10 minutes. The kitchen will start to smell like cinnamon.
Caramelize. In the tarte tatin pan, melt butter in the wine syrup over low-medium heat (I use #4 on my induction oven), add the sugar, and swirl around until the mixture turns into a caramel.
Cut. While the wine is boiling and then the sugar is caramelizing, peel and core the pears. I used a mini melon baller to help core them. I have made this with halves and quarters and find that while halves may look prettier, quarters make the tarte easier easier to slice and eat.
Cook. Arrange the halves (cut side up) or quarters (on their sides) in a circle around the pan (still on low heat) with thin ends pointed in. Cook for 20-25 minutes over low heat. The caramel will bubble up as as the pears soften and pear juices seep out.
Roll. Take cold pâte sucrée out of freezer/fridge and roll between two sheets of wax paper into a circle about 1-2 inches larger than your tatin pan. Remove the top sheet, flip the crust over the fruit, and peel away the wax paper, tucking the dough in around the edges.
Bake. Bake 30 minutes until crust turns a nice brown.
Unveil. After cooling the tarte for a few minutes, place a plate (slightly larger than the tatin pan) over the pan, hold your breath for a second, and carefully flip the tatin onto the plate. Excellent warm or at room temperature. Try it with vanilla ice cream or gelato.