12 Days of Christmas: A Partridge in a Pear Tarte Tatin
Over the next twelve days I am going to take the Christmas carol "The 12 Days of Christmas" to inspire some magical holiday entertaining. From food to fashion, decor to design, it's going to be twelve days of creative ideas of how to brighten your holiday or throw your very own "12 Days of Christmas" themed party.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... A partridge in a pear tart!
Today I'm kicking off my 12 Days of Christmas with a Pear Tarte Tatin. A "tarte tatin" is a type of upside-down (traditionally) apple tart consisting of pastry baked over slices of fruit arranged in caramelized sugar, served fruit side up after cooking. It looks really elegant, is super easy to make and is fun to personalize with whatever filling you love. While the traditional apple tart is delicious, I love to take it to the next level with pears (or even sweet potatoes).
Here's how to make it plus my favorite pear inspired holiday gifts:
Start by peeling, coring and slicing three or four pears. I like to leave the stems on just because I think they are beautiful in the final tart. Sprinkle fresh lemon juice and sugar over the sliced pears and leave for a few minutes to soak while you make the caremelized sugar.
Caramelize sugar and butter together in a cast iron skillet until golden brown. Word of warning: this burns SO EASILY! Do not leave it on the stove unattended. Don't walk away. Keep stirring it. If it starts to smoke or smell like burning, you've burned it. Start over.
Fan pear slices over caramelized sugar and top with puff pastry. Bake until the puff pastry is beautifully golden brown.
Place a dish on top of the skillet and flip. Voila! An ooey gooey caramelized Pear Tarte Tatin. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and a little cinnamon and your friends and family will think that you are so fancy (don't tell them it only took 5 ingredients and an iron skillet).
Find the full recipe below and while we're talking about PEARS, check out some of my favorite pear inspired holiday gifts:
1. Royal Riviera Pears ($29.95) Harry and David
These pears are the perfect gift for that person in your life that has everything. They come in the most beautiful box individually wrapped in gold foil plus they are guaranteed to taste fresh and sweet.
2. Marc Jacobs Pear Splash ($59) Nordstrom
This oldie but goodie is a fruity fragrance that would make a great gift for any woman on your list.
3. Pears 2014 Calendar Dishtowel ($24) Anthropologie
How cute is this dishtowel?! AND it has this year's calendar on it—just in case you need to know the date while cooking. haha
4. Malcolm Betts Diamond Pear-Shaped Stud Earrings ($2,705). Barneys
These are on MY list (in my dreams!). They are so elegant and simple—perfect for everyday.
5. Pumpkin and Pear Butter ($14.50) Blackberry Farm
Made from fresh pears, cider, cane sugar, pumpkin and a savory blend of spice, this sweet and smooth butter is delicious as a spread on toast or muffins and makes the perfect hostess gift. Tuck it in a basket with a loaf of fresh bread and you'll guarantee an invite back.
6. Rhodes Ceramic Figural Pear Cookie Jar ($24.99 on SALE) Pottery Barn
This hand-sculpted stoneware pear cookie jar is adorable and great for storing holiday baked goods on your kitchen counter.
7. Dillon's Pear Bitters ($16.95) Williams-Sonoma
You're sure to impress guests with a pear cocktail just by adding a dash of this quality bitters (adds a zesty note to the sweetness of ripe pears and vanilla).
8. Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Home Candle ($65) Jo Malone
Jo Malone makes my absolute favorite candles and fragrances. This candle is perfect for the holidays and is sure to create an atmosphere of luxury.
Pear Tarte Tatin 2 lbs. firm pears, peeled, cored, and halved lengthwise Juice of 1 lemon 1¼ cups sugar 6 tbsp. unsalted butter 1 package of frozen puff pastry thawed
Preheat oven to 425°. To fan pears, place core-side down on a cutting board. Starting from just below the stem, cut each one into 4 lengthwise slices, leaving stem end attached. Place in a bowl, gently toss with lemon juice and ¼ cup of the sugar, and set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a 9" ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns golden brown and caramelized. Remove skillet from heat. Stir to cool, as the sugar will continue to darken even off the heat.
Drain pears and place in skillet with caramelized sugar round side down, with stems facing center. Gently fan slices out.
Place puff pastry dough on top of pears, covering edge of skillet. Press edges down between pears and inside of skillet and cut four ¼" steam holes in center. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Remove skillet from oven and place a large, flat serving platter on top of the skillet and invert quickly and carefully. Serve warm or at room temperature.