Life for me these days is a work-in-progress.
My pillow being one of them.
Despite its obvious job, to help give me a good night’s sleep, all it’s succeeded in giving me over the last several months is a stiff neck.
So though originally setting out to shop for a king-sized bed to one day replace our dented-in-the-middle queen-sized one, this weekend I found myself testing out not only mattresses but replacement support for my 7-pound head.
All sorts of them.
I’ve exchanged one already and the one currently on trial is sweating it out already.
Learning Italian is also a work-in-progress.
But unlike said pillow, does not give me a stiff neck and is a lot more enjoyable.
I do feel like a bit of a crazy person though — locked away in my husband and I’s bedroom — repeating things back to my computer screen in Italian like, “No, the horse is not swimming,” and “No, that isn’t a dog, it’s a sandwich.”
My hair too is a work-in-progress and unlike learning Italian, not at all enjoyable. (I’m growing it out, you see).
Once cute and pixie-like and wistfully reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn, these days — depending on the day and what it actually feels like doing — more often resembles either,
a.) a bowling ball/helmet,
b.) a battering ram
(In other words, you can pretty much use me as one).
This pear tarte tatin however is neither a battering ram, horse, nor sandwich, but positively divine.
And unlike all the previously mentioned things, not even close to a work-in-progress.
What it is, is puff pastry-butterscotch-y-caramel-y crispy-crusted perfection. And you wouldn’t believe how good it smells.
Topped with tender, winter-y pears, spicy ginger-y sweetness and just enough meaty pecans to take it over the top, it’s just the thing for when you get to thinking that life is a bit too much “work” and not enough “progress”.
You do need a bit of moxie at the end to flip it, but you got that. Just like life.
And though life may be a work-in-progress it doesn’t mean that it can’t, at the very same time, also be delicious.
Inspired by The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus extra for serving
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 firm ripe D’Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/2 – inch thick slices
1 rounded tablespoon crystallized ginger chips
1/4 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed, unfolded and edges trimmed to fit skillet
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.
In a 9 – inch cast iron skillet — or any heavy 9 – inch oven-proof round skillet — melt butter over medium-low heat. Add sugar and salt and — using metal spoon — stir until mixture starts turning amber-colored, approximately 3 – 4 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add vanilla, bourbon and cinnamon to mixture and stir well.
Carefully arrange pear slices in skillet, overlapping them slightly.
Evenly sprinkle ginger chips over top of pears, then repeat step with chopped pecans.
Remove skillet from heat and carefully place puff pastry round over top of pears (skillet will be very hot). Gently tuck in edges.
Transfer skillet to center of middle rack of oven and bake for approximately 35 – 40 minutes, or until puff pastry is all puffed and golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow skillet to cool on stove top for 5 – 10 minutes.
Carefully place a serving plate slightly larger than diameter of skillet over top of skillet. Grip plate and skillet firmly together — using heavy kitchen towels or pot holders — take a deep breath and very quickly and careful invert tarte onto plate.
If any pears have remained in the skillet, gently remove them with a spatula and arrange back onto tarte.
Allow tarte to cool for 20 minutes, sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt and serve warm by itself, with vanilla ice cream, or alongside a great cup of coffee.
Share and enjoy!
- How to Make a Classic Tarte Tatin (thekitchn.com)
- Apple Tarte Tatin Crumble (kcet.org)
- 10 Irresistible Paris Pastries (and where to eat them) (theflyingfugu.com)