Monday, December 02, 2013

Salted Caramel Pear Tarts

When we were in CT with my parents, we had the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies. I didn't feel like repeating these at home, so I found a unique little pastry for us for dessert. I already had all the ingredients, so it seemed like it would be super-simple. And it is! You just cut the pear halves into fancy little fans, put them on a frame of puff pastry, and pour the caramel ingredients on top. While it bakes, the caramel forms itself without you even having to do anything.

This is what it looked like when I had them all set to go into the oven. So pretty!


As it turns out, my oven is tilted ever-so-slightly forward. So what ended up so subtly occurring was that as the caramel (successfully) formed, it started oozing out of the tart shell.

What this tells me is that the method for making these does work. You might think pouring the ingredients over top a pear would not yield caramel, but this shows that you'd be wrong. Caramel does form. And I'm sure if it had stayed in the tart, it would have been amazing. I served them as they were and we still really liked them. I would try this again and try not to screw it up, because I think these would be great if they had the caramel still in them.

Salted Caramel Pear Tarts
Anna Olson via someone else's blog via Pinterest

1 sheet all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
4 small pears
8 teaspoons Demerara or turbinado sugar
8 teaspoons whipping cream
Pinch coarse sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 375F/190C. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Roll out your puff pastry. If you are using a block dust your work surface with some flour and roll out a rectangle 1/4? thick. Divide your rectangular shaped puff pastry into 8 squares. With a sharp knife, cut an “L” into 2 opposing corners, don’t cut all the way but leave a ½-inch in two corners. Brush with the beaten egg . Pick up the cut corners of the pastry, cross them over each other (one over, one under) and lay them flat (now on opposite sides).

3. Brush the tops of the pastry with the eggwash and put the tray in the refrigerator to chill.

4. Now prepare the pear filling. Peel the pears and split them in half lengthwise, core them, and slice in 1/4? slices. Take the pastry shells out of the fridge and set it on your work surface, place one pear half in the center of each tart. Then sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of double cream per tart, then add a pinch sea salt on top. Brown sugar, cream and sea salt turn into salted caramel in the oven without you doing a thing!

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until pears are soft and pastry is golden.

6. Top with either powdered sugar or a sprinkle of demerara sugar.

Yield: 8 tarts

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