Carmelized Upside Down Pear Tart ~

From Helen Rennie's cooking class, "Easy as Pie".

This dessert is so easy and can be be prepared (except for the last step) early in the day that you plan to serve it.  And it has the "wow" factor.  Plus, one can cheat as I did here and use a sheet of puff pastry and have a no fuss, but spectacular dessert that will make your friends think that you are a real pastry chef. 

Here's what you'll need.

4 ripe but firm bosch pears
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of freshly minced ginger
1 sheet of puff pastry

Peel, halve and core pears.  In a 9 to 10 inch non-stick skillet, melt butter over moderate heat until foam subsides.  Stir in sugar (sugar will not be dissolved).  Arrange pears, cut side up, with the skinny end of the pear, pointing to the middle. If your pears are short and there is a circle in the center that is large, then cut a circle of the last pear half and place it in the center of the pan, cut side up.  (my pan was a nine inch, so I didn't need this step).  Cook the pears, without stirring for 10-25 minutes.  I know this is a large time span, but it depends on how long it takes the sugar to carmelize.  You don't want to rush this step, or the sugar could seize in the pan.  So, cook the pears on the slower side, just to be safe.  Cook until you see the sugar is bubbly and a deep carmel color.  Turn off heat, cool and sprinkle with cinnamon and ginger.  So, if you are ready to bake this dessert, then pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.   If not, you can loosely put a sheet of foil over your pears and let sit on top of the counter until you are ready.  I wouldn't leave this overnight, do the same day as you prepare the pears.

Take out your sheet of puff pastry and let sit on a floured counter for a few minutes and unfold gently.  With a rolling pin, gently roll the pastry to make sure the seams are well stuck together.  Cut, the pastry to 1 inch wider than your pan.  Place the dough on top of the pears and tuck the edges of the dough into the skillet around the pears.  Bake 25-30 minutes, remove from oven and let cool for five minutes.  Take a plate that is at least an inch wider than the base of the skillet.  Place plate over the top of the skillet and flip over (I do mine over the sink). Make sure you use an oven mit in case of spilage. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

I serve mine with Haagan Danz ginger ice cream, but even vanilla is fantastic.


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