Autumn is a great time for making this classic French dessert, with an abundance of pears about please try this really easy but very impressive recipe. This is a rustic recipe, I have just halved and quartered the pears, took out the cores and that's it. I prefer to leave the skin on them, as you if eat the dish warm they just melt in your mouth, but you can if you wish remove the skin. You can though really go to town and make this a really pretty dish.
60g unsalted butter
125g demerara sugar
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
4 to 5 firm pears, halved, quartered and cored
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Put the butter and sugar in a 28cm frying pan then heat gently over a medium heat. You are waiting for the butter to melt and the sugar to dissolve and start caramelising. Move the pan around gently to make sure everything melts, but DO NOT stir. You want the caramel to be a lovely golden colour, so be careful it doesn't go to dark as it will be quite bitter.
Once you have a lovely caramel, take off the heat and lay your pears in, fanning the outside of the pan, and working into the middle.
Return to a low heat for 5 minutes.
Roll out the pastry so it is about another 2 to 3cm bigger on each side, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Now lay the pastry over the pan and tuck the pastry down the insides of the pan. I use the handle end of a knife or fork to push the pastry gently under the pears. Trim off any excess pastry.
Now bake in the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Be very careful as the handle of the pan will be red hot and so will the caramel.
Now you need to find a plate or board that is larger than the pan, and lay over the top of the pan, and then in a swift movement carefully flip the pan over. You now have a beautiful tarte tatin which is lovely served hot or cold, with some cream.
I use a 28cm oven proof frying pan, and this easily makes enough for 6 to 8 people, depending on how much you want to give each person. You can also use apples or bananas instead of pears.