Here I illustrated the pear example, but you can certainly use other fruit – perhaps even a mixture of – peaches, apricots (see Apricot tarte tatin in The Guardian). In the history of the Tart Tatin apples are a classic choice. Here is a distant relative – quince and cinnamon, tried moons ago with a slightly different approach (the fruit is processed separately, while we here cook it all in one frying pan).
Pears on the upside-down shell:
Peaches (peeled, stoned, halved), on mille feuille shell:
What is essential to proceed with this endeavour is and old, well seasoned frying pan (or an other stove-ovenproof dish shaped like one), and somewhat matching glass or ceramic ‘pie shape’ dish, not a flat plate, which will be receiving a hot tart when it comes out of the oven. Very reliable oven mittens or a faithful rag you will use to shield your hands. Sounds scary, but it is manageable, rest easy..
So – for 8 people I use a frying pan o f 24 cm dia. To fill it in I use:
- tart shell; try one of your choice, some of my choices are here. Make sure your shell will be sized to fit 24 dia dish, i.e. measures, when rolled out, some 28 cm in dia. Feel free to use mille feuille (puff pastry), if this is what you fancy..
- pears (or peaches, or apples, or approcots). In this case I had 3 1/2 humongous Argentinian Packham Triumph pears – each of them weighed almost 300g..
- lemon juice – about 2 tbsp – to protect the fruit from ugly discoloration
- 150g sugar (you will steal 2 tbsp of it to drop some on the peeled and sliced pears)
- 4 tbsp (say, 30g?) butter
- 2 tsp stem ginger, well chopped
- a (dusting) pinch of the nutmeg
When the tart shell dough is resting in the fridge, you take to the pears:
- Peel them take out the seeds. One pear-half stays uncut, the rest you slice into lengthwise, along the stem, into quarters/sixths/eights – whatever is sensible, but do it consistently, one way or the other.
- Ready pear chunks you sprinkle with the lemon juice and a bit of sugar, Mix delicately but thoroughly, to make sure all surfaces are covered..
- Frying pan on the medium heat, warming up.
- Drop in the butter; when melted, roll the frying pan around to make sure some of the butter lands on the sides (the walls?) of the pan.
- Now sugar – drop it into the butter, stir delicately, let it not necessarily dissolve, but to spread evenly over the surface of the pan. .
- Take it off the heat.
- Now arrange the fruit: First the saved whole half, goes into the centre of the pan, laying (wobbly) on its back, the flat cut side facing you. Around it you place all remaining slices, in a fan fashion; those that do not fit, you sort of fit/force in between the others.
- The frying pan returns to the burner, medium heat. NO STIRRING. It rests there for some 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until the sugar starts to caramelize (turns brownish..?)
- Take the pan off the heat.
Assemble and bake:
- Oven to 350F/180C
- Drop ginger and nutmeg over the hot fruit.
- Roll out the dough, to the size slightly larger that the frying pan (some 4-5 cm wider?).
- One way or the other carry the dough over the pan, drop it on, and ease the borders somewhat into the sides of the pan, to create an tent-like cover over the fruit. Try to make the sides as vertical as you can, but try not to burn your fingers!
- The whole thing into the oven, for some 30-40 minutes, until the tent is nicely crispy brown (but not burned..).
- Now. when the tart is baked, you take it out of the oven and cover with the target, matching pie dish.
- Grab the dish with one hand, the frying pan with another, and, squeezing them together flop them upside own, and drop the content of the frying pan into the pie dish.
- Should some interesting bits and pieces remaing on the frying pan, simply transport them with a spatyla into the pie dish, find the most appropriate spots, maybe needing to be filled. They will settle down nicely when it is cooling down and caramel is hardening. There is not much, but enough time, do not panic.
- Now, when all is , where it should be. leave your tart for a good hour or so.. Now – soak and wash the frying pan.. relax, and be ready o enjoy..