PEAR TARTE TATIN
Ben likes to put a little twist on dishes at The Duck. With this classic French pâtisserie recipe, a crisp pastry galette of caramel and pear, it’s a black pepper honeycomb for contrast and rich vanilla ice cream for indulgence. Individual tart cases look good. (Serves 4)
2 firm local pears (Ben uses Williams)
1 litre stock syrup (equal volumes of sugar and water gently dissolved)
1 sprig rosemary
1 star anise
100ml dry white wine
150g golden caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, cold, in small cubes Good puff pastry, ready rolled to fit
1 free range egg Splash of milk
In a large pan, bring the stock syrup to the boil and carefully add in the rosemary, star anise and white wine. Bring back to the simmer, turn off and allow to infuse while you peel the pears. Lower the peeled pears into the syrup and cover the pan. Bring back to a simmer and cook gently over a low heat until the pears are cooked and soft. Remove the pears and leave to cool. Halve and carefully scoop out the core. Keep warm.
Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Warm your metal tart cases in the oven on a baking sheet. Heat the sugar gently without stirring over a low-medium heat in a wide frying pan. As it starts to caramelise and become syrupy, scatter in the butter and start to move the pan very carefully, swirling in the butter to mix. Use a wooden spatula to bring it together. Stir in a pinch of freshly-ground black pepper and then remove the caramel from the heat. Add a shallow layer to the bottom of each tin. Lay in a pear half. Cut a square of pastry to completely cover the top, trim the edge to a small overlap and tuck inside the tin carefully. Repeat for all four.
Whisk the egg and a little milk for an eggwash glaze and brush over the pastry. Bake until golden-brown, remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Invert a warm plate over each tart, and holding both parts tightly with a tea towel, very carefully turn over. Tease out the tarts from the cases and serve.