Shannon Bennett: Pear tarte Tatin

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 180 gm caster sugar
  • 180 gm butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthways
  • 4 ripe firm pears such as Packham, Williams or small beurre Bosc, halved, cored and each studded with a clove
  • 2 sheets butter puff pastry (375gm each)
  • To serve: pouring cream and pure icing sugar
  •  
  • Eight-spice powder
  • 2½ tsp juniper berries
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 large cinnamon quill
  • 1 small pinch saffron
  • 2 tsp Murray River salt flakes
01   For eight-spice powder, dry-roast ingredients (except salt) until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind with salt until finely ground, set aside.
02   Divide sugar between two 18cm-diameter cast-iron frying pans, divide butter cubes between pans, sprinkle each pan with 1 tsp eight-spice powder (reserve remainder for another use), then place halved vanilla bean in the centre in a cross. Place pear halves in pans cut-side up, cover with puff pastry, trim into a circle and firmly tuck in edges, then refrigerate to rest (15 minutes).
03   Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190C. Score pastry in the centre and between each pear half, then cook over low-medium heat until sugar begins to caramelise (12-18 minutes). Carefully baste pastry with caramel, then transfer to oven and bake until pastry is golden and puffed, basting pastry halfway through cooking (15-20 minutes). Remove from oven, loosen edges with a knife, then carefully turn out onto a chopping board, cut into pieces, dust with icing sugar and serve hot with cream.
This recipe is from the April 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Recipe:

SHANNON BENNETT , MARK BRIGGS, HEIDE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, MELBOURNE

Photography:

WILLIAM MEPPEM

Styling:

LISA FEATHERBY

Drinking Suggestion:

A CANADIAN ICE WINE OR A PASSITO-STYLE DESSERT WINE , suggested by ELIZABETH FAIRWEATHER

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