Pear tarte tatin with milk tea crème anglaise

As somebody who has suffered prior trauma from tarte tatin, I can tell you now that I’ve made at least ten of them this year alone. To celebrate the fall, and to use the free bosc pears that were lying around at work, I wanted to make yet another tarte tatin. This time, I decided to have some fun with it. For the tarte tatin itself, I opted for a simple pear one, using brown sugar in the short crust pastry just to add that extra earthiness to the crust. For the crème anglaise, I thought about what pairs with the brown sugar(ugh, saying that out loud gets confusing, but words are confusing in general) and I thought about milk tea. How nice would it be to make a crème anglaise inspired by something huge in Taiwanese culture, in this case, milk tea? We use a ton of tea in Taiwanese cooking, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, and I felt like it would be playful(I am hardcore kicking myself for not thinking of going this route on the show lol).

For my spices, I went with a simple cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom mixture. I garnished the tarte tatin with shortbread cookies as well, because I like the playfulness of that, and it’s a garnish that ties back to the crust. For the tea I’m steeping into the milk for my anglaise, I opted for Darjeeling, just for that royal milk tea feeling, but you can really use any black tea(earl gray would be my second choice, since the herbs in that just add pops of excitement to anything sweet!). What makes Darjeeling tea so special is that it gives notes of apricot and a rich body to anything it is used in. Also, I wanted to point out that depending on the kind of fruit, the amount of caramel in a tarte tatin really does vary. Apples yield the least, but with pears, my god, it was like a pool of steaming hot caramel sauce.

Makes 6-8 portions:
For the short crust:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water

Blitz together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt first. Mix in your butter then bind with the cold water to form a dough. Allow to refrigerate for at least 15 minutes first. Dust a surface with flour and roll out to about 3/4th inch thickness and cut out a 12 inch in diameter circle and place onto a floured plate or tray. Keep cold. Roll out any spare dough and cut into star shapes, baking those at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

For the caramel:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt

Press the softened butter onto the bottom of a cast iron. Press in the cinnamon stick. Mix together the other ingredients and sprinkle over the butter in an even layer.

For the tarte:
6 bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored

Arrange the pears onto the butter layer and allow them to cook together on high heat for about 7 minutes. Place onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Carefully drape the 12 inch circle over the pan and wrap the pears in the pastry. Prick holes onto the pastry and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 minute before carefully inverting onto a large plate(please be extremely careful here and cover your hands and arms well because the amount of burning hot caramel is a lot more than expected).

For the crème anglaise:
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Darjeeling tea leaves
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steep tea leaves in milk and cream. Strain. Temper egg yolks with honey, salt, and the tea steeped dairy. Stir on medium heat, for 30 seconds, and alternate by taking it off heat and stirring for another 30 seconds, continuing this for a total of 2 minutes. Pass through a sieve and finish with salt and vanilla.

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