I had to do it. I had to share one more pear post with you all. My load of lovely organic Packham Triumph and D'Anjou pears from Farmer Vince demanded I make as many and as much use of them as possible. We've been enjoying pears on everything at our house lately. On granola, grilled on pizza, in salads, poached in wine, baked in tarts, drizzled with chocolate or caramel and eaten simply, out of hand, juice running down our wrists and chins. It's been pure, pear gluttony around here.
I have Farmer Vince of Valley View Farms and Farmstr, CEO Janelle Maiocco to thank for the lovely bounty of pears we've been enjoying. Valley View Farms is located in Zillah, Washington, 2 hours east of Seattle. This area of Washington enjoys a reputation for being one of many of our major wine growing appellations. Excellent terroir consisting of long hot days and cool nights, produces fabulous fruit and for every vineyard there are easily just as many orchards and farms.
As I shared with you last week, Farmstr is a new online, direct from the farm to consumer website recently launched here in the Seattle area. If you live in the Seattle metro area I strongly encourage you to check out their site and give them a go. With convenient drop locations around the city, it's wonderfully easy to help support farmers, get the freshest produce and keeps costs low. Fresh, local and sustainable produce and meat products are really the best way to go. Know thy food, should be a commandment.
Fall is full upon us and with it thunder, lightning and cooling, quenching rains. Perfect Tarte Tatin weather. The apples on our trees are ripe for the picking and I can hardly wait to tackle my long list of apple related recipes. For now though, those recipes will have to wait. I've made Tarte Tatin with apples, quince and apricots but never (until now) pears. For a good result, I'd strongly suggest using firm but ripe pears and really any variety will do.
As with most desserts it's best served warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche. Caramelized sugar, softened fruit and crispy puffed crust together equal sheer, glorious perfection. I've again used cardamom in this recipe as I'm a bit obsessed with the stuff, but truly you do not need to do so. It's equally delicious void of it so don't feel beholden to add it, or even the vanilla if you are inclined to omit that as well.
The beauty of this dessert is really how simple it is. If you've heard it's complicated, difficult or frustrating to make a Tarte Tatin, I urge you to forget all of that. All you need is a good, heavy bottomed cast iron skillet and the best puff pastry you can get your hands on. The rest is as they say, a piece of Tarte Tatin.
Vanilla Cardamom Pear Tarte Tatin
2-3 large firm but ripe pears ( I used Anjou for this recipe)
1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 T. water
3 T. butter
1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
Vanilla bean seeds from one pod (opt)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 T. all purpose flour for rolling
In a 9-10 inch cast iron skillet, place the sugar, water and apple cider vinegar. Set pan over medium high heat and swirl the pan to combine. DO NOT STIR. Allow the sugar to melt and bubble, swirling periodically for 10 minutes or so. Once the sugar becomes caramelized and takes on a dark golden hue, remove from heat and add the butter. At this point it's alright to stir. Combine the butter, then add the cardamom and vanilla, stir and set aside.
Lightly dust a board and rolling pin with the flour and roll the pastry just large enough to accommodate the size of your skillet. My skillet is a 10 inch round, so using a 10 inch plate as a guide I cut the pastry to that size. Prick the pastry lightly with a fork. Place the pastry carefully on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the pears.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel and core the pears, ( I find this is easiest using a melon baller tool) then slice each half into 4 or 5 equally thick pieces. Lay the pears in a concentric circle in the pan on top of the caramel, and return the pan to medium low heat. Simmer the pears in the caramel for 10 minutes until they begin to soften slightly.
Remove from heat and carefully place the chilled puff pastry on top of the pears, tucking the edges of the pastry down along the sides of the pan. Put a lid on top of the pastry, I used a slightly smaller saucepan lid for this, then place the pastry in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
Remove from the oven, let sit for 15 minutes then carefully invert the tart onto a serving plate. Don't worry if some of the pears stick or fall askew. They can be easily returned to place, just be careful not to burn yourself while doing so.
Serve immediately or while slightly warm with creme fraiche or whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Farmstr has graciously gifted me with pears, but have in no way paid me for promoting their site. All opinions with regard to Farmstr are solely my own.