If you see a packet of pears at reduced price at your supermarket, grab it! They are usually quite hard and tasteless (that’s why they are on sale) but they make the perfect ingredient for an easy-to-make delicious upside-down pie or, as we French people call it, tarte Tatin. In fact, hard pears are best as they will keep their shape well when cooked. All you need is a dish/frying pan that can both go on the hob and in the oven.
30-50g granulated sugar (use vanilla-scented sugar or add a couple of drops of vanilla essence)
4 pears for small dish/pan (6 for a larger dish)
150g flour + 75g grated butter + 20g sugar (or 200g flour + 100g butter +30g sugar for a larger dish) + water (enough to bind the pastry together). To find out how to make sweet pastry, go to my easy step-by-step picture-guide of my quick video guide
Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin-ish layer of sugar
- Scatter a few pea-size knobs of butter.
- Cut the pears in quarters, removing the hard inner core and outer skin, and lay the quarters over the sugar placing the thicker part of the pear on the outside.
- Sprinkle with the lemon juice
- Cook on high power and take the pan off the heat just as the sugar turns brown. Be careful at this stage as it can turn black and burn very quickly! If you take it off too early, your pie won’t have that lovely caramel taste. (Once, I took the pan off the heat when it had only just started to smell burnt but still decided to finish my recipe since my dough was already made and I had no more fruit. I was a bit worried about the result but it still tasted great!)
- Leave to cool for no more than five minutes and place your rolled up piece of pastry over the pan, gently pushing the edges underneath the fruit and around the dish.
- Cook on pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 30-35 minutes until pastry looks gold.
- Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, place a dish over the top of the tin and turn upside down. Don’t wait any longer otherwise the caramel will harden and the pie will be stuck to the tin! If it did, you could always heat up the dish gently to melt the caramel again.