Tarte tatin, the classic French upside-down pie, is usually made with apples. It works with nearly any fruit, though: I’ve made them with citrus, figs, berries, pears—so many options! But I especially love it with pineapple, which caramelizes beautifully and makes a particularly great contrast to the crisp puff pastry. It’s one fruit pie I will tell you to serve warm, and it’s made all the better by a scoop of ice cream.
—Erin Jeanne McDowell
Watch This Recipe
Pineapple Tarte Tatin
one 12-inch pie
1/2 recipe Rough Puff Pastry
vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)
(99 grams) granulated sugar
ground cinnamon (optional)
fine sea salt
medium pineapple (about 2 1/2 pounds or 1.14 kilograms), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
Heat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven, preferably with a baking steel or stone on the rack. Have ready a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a circle about 13 inches wide. Dock the dough all over with a fork. Use the rolling pin to gently transfer the dough and unfurl it onto the prepared baking sheet. Let chill while you work on the fruit.
Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. If using the vanilla bean, rub the seeds into the sugar. Stir in the cinnamon (if using) and the salt. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the pan and let melt for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir to help dissolve the sugar, then continue to cook without stirring until the mixture begins to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. You can swirl the pan occasionally to keep the heat distributed and the mixture browning evenly, but avoid stirring it.
When the mixture has caramelized, swirl to evenly coat the whole base of the pan. Turn off the heat and carefully arrange the pineapple in an even layer; be sure to pack it in as tightly as possible, evenly overlapping slightly, as it will shrink while it cooks and you don’t want too many gaps between the fruit after baking.
Gently drape the pastry over the fruit, folding in a little at the edges to encase the pineapple. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the pastry is very golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Invert the skillet onto a serving platter or cutting board to unmold the tarte tatin. Let cool for 5 minutes more before serving.
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.