Pear Tarte Tatin

I had time to cook, and think about cooking, this past weekend for the first time in about eight weeks. Life has been just a bit busy with family, work and university.

I have grand illusions when it comes to cooking Tarte Tatin. However, I made an apple tarte tatin earlier this year and it was a bit of a disaster. Never one to give up,on Sunday I made Pear Tarte Tatin from the July 2012 issue of NZ Cuisine. It was really good!

I cooked the pears a couple of hours before I needed them and left them in the pan. This meant there wasn’t much to do before putting the pan in the oven. Instead of serving the tart with zabaglione, I served vanilla bean custard. The recipe says it serves 6 but it serves 8 quite easily. I will definitely make this again – it was delicious.

 

Pear Tarte Tatin

from NZ Cuisine Issue 153

300g butter puff pastry

5-6 pears, peeled quartered and cored

juice of 2 lemons

50g honey

25g butter

Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry to a 27cm-diameter circle, 5mm thick (or to a size that is big enough to overlap your frying pan). Refrigerate until required.

Toss the pear quarters together with the lemon juice.

Melt the honey and butter in a 25cm oven-proof frying pan then arrange the pears in the frying pan in a single layer, peeled skin side down. Add any juices from the pears then cook until any liquid disappears and the pears begin to turn golden brown. Put the pastry circle on top of the pears, tucking the pastry around the edge of the pears inside the frying pan.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes then turn out on a serving plate.

Serves 6-8

Comforting rice custard

My children went through a stage where their favourite breakfast was rice custard, usually accompanied by stewed fruit. I figured it was probably better for them than 90% of breakfast cereals – rice, milk, eggs and a small amount of sugar. It is still a favourite but not for breakfast.

A few Sundays ago I poached some pears and made some rice custard – it was a hit. The trick with this recipe is cooking the rice and milk mixture long enough, so the rice is well cooked. In the past five or so years I have been using arborio rice rather than the short grain white rice I had been using for years.

 

Rice custard

Makes about 1.25 litres

1/2 cup arborio rice

1 cup water

4 cups milk

I vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped.

1 teaspoon cornflour

2 eggs

3 tablespoons sugar

grated nutmeg

cinnamon

Combine the rice and water in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until water has been absorbed. Add the milk and stir every now again until the mixture starts to simmer. Add the vanilla bean. Turn the heat down and leave the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens and the rice is cooked, 30-40 minutes.

Mix the cornfour with a tablespoon of milk. Add eggs and whisk together. Add a cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk. Add the egg mixture to the saucepan off the heat and stir until the mixture thickens – this should happen quite quickly. Add the sugar and stir until incorporated.

Spoon mixture into serving dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon and leave to cool.

Serve with poached or stewed fruit or fresh berries.