Pears make for a welcome twist on this classic dessert. Beautiful, delicious and well within the abilities of the average cook.
What you will need
8 Bosc Pears
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
14 oz. Puff Pastry(Nutritional facts 193 calories, 11.44 g fat, 20.9 g carbohydrates, 1.96 g protein, 10 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium)
How to cook
Preheat oven to 400°F
Peel the pears.
Slice each pear in half through the stem and core.
Remove the core. For most pears, a standard teaspoon is a great tool for removing the core. Press the edge of the spoon into the core and rotate to carve a half-sphere around the seeds.
Then slice away the remaining stem surrounding the core.
Slice each half into wedges.
Squeeze the juice from a lemon over the sliced pears. Toss to coat the pears in lemon juice. This will both preserve the pears as they sit and add a little sparkle to the final "flavor profile".
If you've never caramelized sugar, this may seem weird, but it's fun. Just put some sugar in a stainless steel pan over medium heat. Give it a shake to spread the sugar out evenly. Let it heat up until the sugar begins to melt.
As the sugar begins to melt, stir with a wooden spoon or a heat-safe spatula. Keep heating the sugar until it's entirely liquefied. The sugar will begin to darken rather quickly. Keep stirring. When it reaches a rich amber color (like Hammond's staff from Jurrasic Park), remove from heat and move quickly to the next step.
Whisk the butter into the caramelized sugar.
Add the pears and stir. The caramel will very quickly go from thick, almost hardened, to a thin, flowing liquid.
You do need an oven-safe pan for this that is small enough to keep the pears held together in a pattern. Arrange the pears in concentric circles with the rounded face to the pan. I like to start with the outside circle. As you get closer to the center, you won't be able to get as clean a circle, but that's fine.
Unfold the puff pastry and discard the parchment and plastic that it's usually wrapped in. Drape the dough over the top. Stretch it out a little if needed to get the dough to cover the pears. For an alternative to puff pastry, see the tarte crust recipe I've attached here. It's very easy to make and just as good as (if not better than) the pastry.
Trim the dough to fit the apples neatly.
Poke a few holes for steam to escape.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry crust is golden brown.
Let the pan cool for at least 15 minutes. When you're ready for a thrill, place a plate over the top that's large enough to cover the pastry crust. Holding the plate with one hand and the pan handle with the other, flip the whole deal over quickly but gingerly. If the tarte is still stuck in the pan, use a small spatula or a butter knife to coax it from the pan so that it falls out into the pan.