Tarte tatin. It’s one of those desserts that quickens my heart rate just at the thought of it. Oozy caramel, sweet juicy fruit, a delicate layer of crust that may or may not be sort of smooshed because you didn’t give it enough time to chill because you wanted to eat your lunch and it never pays to rush plus you only had a can of salt for a rolling pin but who can tell because it’s underneath all of that other good stuff.
Two pears, one apple, a generous smattering of cardamom and a heck of a lot of butter contribute to this tarte. One of our health resolutions for this year was choosing to cook with olive oil rather than butter, so I’ve been building up my butter quota in anticipation of something decadent like this.
Our other health resolution was to only eat bacon twice a month, and I’m coping somewhat stoically with that one (and waiting for February for my next fix). Because even though we’ll be eating bacon tomorrow night, it will be stuffed inside of a freshly-caught brook trout, and that therefore does not count in the greater scheme of things. Woods logic, y’all.
Use whatever kind of pears you want for this. I’m not picky. I’m just thankful that my grocery store has multiple types of pears for me to choose from. Cut your pears into quarters; any smaller, and they will become difficult to handle. Cut the apple into smaller pieces, to nestle in amongst the pears.
I chose to leave those pears face up for the baking stage, with the hope that they would remove themselves without much fuss from the pan. Sure enough, no pear experienced any difficulties in the making of this tarte. But, I dare say the tarte would be equally pretty if the cut sides were baked face-down.
I adapted this from a similar tarte tatin I made two years ago. I recommend that one as well, it was quite delicious.
3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp ice-cold water
2/3 c. pecans
2 pears, in the happy place between firm and soft
6 tbsp salted butter
Heaping 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cardamom
Making the Crust
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar, and cardamom. Add small pieces of frozen unsalted butter and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Add in cold water slowly until mixture makes a ball or near-ball in the food processor.
Roll out on a lightly-floured surface until disc of dough is the size necessary to fit into the pan you will cook your apples in. Chill in fridge on a sheet pan.
Note: I didn’t follow my own instructions at all, and my crust fell apart somewhat sadly. Use cold butter, and a food processor, or at least a pastry blender – I had none of these things, hence the mishap.
Making the Tarte
Heat oven to 375 F.
Break pecans into small pieces, and toast in a saute pan until fragrant. Set aside.
Get out your heaviest pan – for me, this is a 10″ cast-iron skillet. This recipe makes a small tarte tatin, so the smaller the pan the better. However, if the pan isn’t heavy enough, the caramel will burn quickly, this I promise you.
Core pears, and cut into quarters. Leave skins on for a rustic approach and no nutritional compromising. Core apple, and cut into eighths. Halve several of these eighths if needed.
Remove crust from fridge, set aside.
Melt the salted butter in the heavy pan of your choosing, then add sugar. Spread butter mixture evenly over the pan’s bottom surface. Arrange the pears and apples as desired, I started by arranging mine face side-down. Sprinkle cardamom over the apples, and top with pecans.
Return to heat, which should now be turned on medium-high, depending on the strength of your stove. For most stoves, high shouldn’t be a problem. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until a medium caramel color appears. Flip each piece of fruit. Cook three to five minutes more.
Take crust and place over fruit, tucking dough around the sides of the pears and apples if possible. Place in preheated oven and cook for around 25 minutes until crust turns a light golden brown.
Remove pan from oven, quickly run a knife or spatula around the edge/bottom of the tarte, and flip onto a serving plate.
Serve warm. I imagine this would go great with a cardamom vanilla whipped cream (1 c. heavy cream, 1 tbsp powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp cardamom), though I haven’t had the pleasure.
I froze my face off riding on a snowmobile this weekend. It seems unnecessary that certain activities require specific gear, so I’m usually content to make do with what I have, at least until my face falls off. Just like in that top-notch Nic Cage movie.
And then, faceless, I may begrudgingly purchase accessories to help keep me alive. Or put my face back on.
For the first time since I started my job, we spent the weekend at my work cabin. Ice fishing in ridiculously windy conditions, snow sledding in those same windy conditions, and eating like royalty all throughout the day because ridiculous wind makes you mad hungry.
We topped off the weekend with an after-dark snowmobile ride where we found a moose antler. We’d been halfheartedly searching for two days, so our find felt justified. I forgot to mention that our weekend started off with Fast & Furious 6, so our action adventure saga came full-circle. Though neither of us flew through the air from one vehicle to another, we still had an epic couple of days. As Vin Diesel’s sagacious character Dom construed, “Some things you just have to take on faith.”
I have faith in the woods.
Oh, and hey, if you’ve got a few minutes, give it up for this gem, which has been stuck in my head for three days now. 2 Chainz, wut up dawg.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but some things…. you just have to take on faith.