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.
tarte Tatin (French pronunciation: [taʁt tatɛ̃]) n. an upside-down tart in which the fruit (usually apples) are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.
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.
Butterscotch Ginger Pear Tarte Tatin with Pecans
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)
Butterscotch?! Gosh that looks so good and I bet smells AMAZING! Very beautiful!
Aw, thanks so much, Brandi! It does smell amazing! It really is an awesome use for pears, and so winter-perfect =) Thanks for stopping by and for the love — it is so appreciated!
Have an awesome rest of your week and talk soon!
WHY are you so classy with your fancy desserts? I have pears in my fridge that I want to use to make this RIGHT NOW. Why does everything good in this world involve sugar?
Also, love the description of you learning Italian. Hahaha. At least at the end of the craziness you’ll have so much new knowledge in your head covered in grown-out hair! Woo!
Erika, girl, it may look classy, but it is quite simple to make, actually! And those pears in the fridge want you to use them to make this tarte. They called me up and told me 😉
And re: learning Italian, sister, I like your reasoning! lol Double bonus!
This looks seriously DIVINE. Right now I’m eating a bucket of cheese balls as I write this evening, and I have to say, I wish I was eating this tarte instead.
Good job on the italian! I’m so bad at learning languages, I have no patience for it. I’ve tried German, Italian, and French. After 5 years of German I can understand a lot, but basically only say a few sentences that sound like I’m spitting at people.
And good luck with that hair girl. I hear you, growing it out is THE WORST. I love my hair short, so fun and easy…but growing it out, oi. (take some pre-natal vitamins, it will grow like a weed!)
Buona settimana! I think that’s right, lol.
Hey, lovely, there is nothing wrong with a bucket of cheese balls under the right circumstances and it sounds like just the right circumstance 😉 But, for the record, I’m beaming you a virtual slice of the tarte right now 😉
Thanks for the Italian and hair well wishes! I will need them a lot more for the hair though, but ooh, pre-natal vitamins, you say … scary but oh so tempting! lol
Buona settimana as well, Rebekah! Impressive! =)
Christina, I tuoi capelli sono belli, anche come un ariete. Molto amore. (Thank you google translate).
LOL, oh my god, Niko, you made me laugh so hard! You are too much!
“Your hair is beautiful, even as a battering ram. Much love.”
Italian, I love you!
Thanks for making my day, big brother, much love back!
Woop, woop, glad you enjoyed the Italiano!
I adore pear in desserts and this definitely looks like the fancier ones that I should try. Thanks for posting and hope all is well Chrhistina! 🙂
Ack, sloppy fingers! Sorry for the typo. I mean Christina! 🙂
No worries, Anne, it happens! 😉
Thanks, Anne! And though it looks fancy, it really is a cinch to make. It’s just the flip at the end that gives you a grey hair or two, but totally worth it!
Thank you for stopping by, lovely, and big hug back =)
Love the grey hair comment –gave me a giggle! 😀
BIG hugs back. Xox!
looks good!! I liked the caramelized coulor.
So glad and thanks so much! =)