Pear Tarte Tatin with Almond Pastry

My tarte tatin wasn’t as pretty as the photo in the magazine, but it was quite tasty. Almost the whole dish was gone, and I had one request for the recipe.

Since I had burnt caramel earlier that morning, I was nervous about caramelizing the pears. I probably didn’t actually get to the caramel state with the sugar and water. After baking, it was a bit watery, but I poured off the excess so that it didn’t get soggy (the dessert had to sit out several hours before I would serve it) and still ended up with a great dish!

Pear Tarte Tatin 5

Pear Tarte Tatin with Almond Pastry

Fine Cooking No. 23, reprinted in Big Buy

Ingredients for the Pastry:

  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed ground almonds
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbs. heavy cream

Ingredients for the Caramelized Pears

  • 3 lbs. pears (about 6 large), peeled, halved, and cored
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger tossed with 1 tsp. sugar (I used dried ginger)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Make the Pastry:
In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Pulse briefly until the mixture has pea-size lumps and the rest looks like cornmeal. Add the almonds and pulse for just another second. Mound the mixture on a work surface, make a well, and pour the egg yolk and cream into the center. Continue mixing the ingredients until you have a “shaggy dough” (mine was quite thick and sticky, and reminded me of the dough used in scones). Knead the dough just until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Caramelize pears: Cut the pears lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss Pear Tarte Tatin 1them with the ginger-sugar mixture (1 Tbs. ginger and 1 tsp. sugar). Heat a 9-inch cast-iron pan with an ovenproof handle over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and water swirl the pan to combine. Watch the sugar syrup carefully as it bubbles. When it turns light brown, add the butter and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until the caramel is an even, deep brown. (Mine never browned, as I said above, but it did get to a candy-like state when it cooled. I ended up reheating it and using it anyway, even though I knew it wasn’t caramel.) Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool slightly. Carefully arrange the pear slices in the caramel in a single concentric layer. Top with additional pear slices, continuing the circular pattern until the pears reach the top of the pan. (Pear slices will shrink as they cook.) Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook until the pears on the bottom layer are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you roll out the dough.

Make Tarte Tatin: Heat oven to 450. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 10 1/2-inch round. Either pick the dough up with your hands or roll the dough onto the rolling pin to move it to pan. Drape sough over the pan of pears to cover. Fold the extra dough onto itself to form rough border. Press the crust down onto the pears to compress them slightly.

Lower oven temperature to 400F. Bake the tarte until the pastry is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert the tarte onto a serving plate with a rim to catch the caramel. Pour any caramel that stays in the pan over the tarte. (Again, my “caramel” was much more watery that caramel, so I poured off excess caramel so that the pastry crust didn’t get too soggy before serving.)

Chocolate Ganache

 

This summer, I found a fantastic recipe (and photo) for a chocolate ganache, by Kraft Foods. It’s as easy as a dessert can get, and tastes absolutely decadent. It takes about 15 minutes to make (no oven!), and then chills for a couple hours. I’ve included the original recipe below, a Raspberry Chocolate Ganache, as well as my variations at the bottom.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 6 Tbs. seedless raspberry jam, divided
  • 1 Oreo pie crust, premade or homemade
  • 2 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbs. water

Make the Chocolate Ganache: Put chocolate and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and continue microwaving for 30 seconds until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from microwave and whisk together to combine. Whisk in 2 Tbs. of the raspberry jam. Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Top the Ganache: Arrange berries on top of ganache. In a small bowl, microwave remaining 4 Tbs. jam and 1 Tbs. water for 30 seconds. Stir until combined. Drizzle over raspberries.

Store in the fridge until serving.

My (Tested) Variations:

  • Blackberry / blueberry jam with fresh blueberries on top
  • Kahlua Chocolate Ganache: A couple tablespoons of Kahlua baked into the ganache instead of the jam. Instead of fruit on top, a Kahlua whipped cream. (I’d also like to try this with Bailey’s.)

Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

These were very tasty with my morning coffee and afternoon cinnamon tea. I’ve been dying to try the recipe for a while, but I only recently found cinnamon chips at a local store. I’ve made it both with and without the cinnamon drizzle (and never used the white chocolate drizzle that the original recipe calls for) and it’s wonderful both ways.

Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

Adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens*

Makes ~24 biscotti

Ingredients:

  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 2/3 c. (a 10-oz package) cinnamon chips, divided
  • 2 tsp. shortening (don’t use butter, margarine or spread)

Preheat oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt to butter mixture, beating until smooth.  Stir in 1 c. cinnamon chips.

Divide dough into 2 logs, each about 6 inches wide. Lay a log on each baking sheet, flattening slightly and shaping as needed.

Bake 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Using serrated knife and sawing motion, cut logs diagonally into ½-inch-wide slices. (I cut carefully, right on the baking sheet, but you can also transfer to a cutting board before cutting.) Place slices back on baking sheet, cut side down. Return to oven and bake 5-6 minutes. Turn each slice and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Remove cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the remaining 2/3 c. cinnamon chips and shortening. Drizzle over each cookie.

Note: This recipe and photos were updated in March 2011.

This recipe was originally found on Hershey’s website. As of January 2019, the URL was no longer good, and therefore was removed. I was no longer able to find the recipe on their site.

PB&J Bars

These were quite yummy, especially when slightly warm. My favorite was is that they bars stayed soft, even after a couple days.

BB's PB&J Bars 2

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Source: Recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten

Makes 24 bar cookies

Ingredients:

nocoupons

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 c. creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. raspberry jam or other jam (I used blackberry preserves)
  • 2/3 c. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350.

Grease a 9×13 pan. Grease and lightly flour the pan. (You can also lay parchment paper on bottom of pan, and grease & flour that.)

Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter. Mix until all ingredients are combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and gradually add to peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

BB's PB&J Bars 1Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan and spread over the bottom with a spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small bits of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. (Note: The original recipe said that the dough would spread in the oven, but mine did not.) Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top of bar cookies and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.

BB's PB&J Bars 3