I never understood the attraction of ‘upside down cakes’ when I was younger, mainly because they often had tinned pineapple on them in our neck of the woods. Why anyone would do that is beyond me.
With this however the magical flip and reveal is a beautiful moment, set off nicely by the terror of burning yourself on scalding hot caramel.
The result is so exquisite that the ridiculously easy prep and short shopping list seem almost unfair. This is the perfect thing to do with that spare sheet of puff pastry hanging about in the freezer..
Isn’t that the prettiest thing you ever saw?
1/2 cup of caster sugar
40 grams butter cubed
3 corella pears (or beurre bosc) peeled, cored and quartered
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (yes I will learn to make this myself one day!)
You will also need a smallish oven proof pan – I used a 17cm enamel cast iron pan like this. If you use a bigger pan just up the ingredients a smidge, it’s not rocket science.
1. Take out sheet of puff pastry to defrost
2. Heat oven to 190c
3. Put sugar in base of pan and place onto medium heat, watch carefully – try not to panic that you are essentially frying sugar. It will start to melt, shake it around until its all melted and let it colour to a rich caramel (darker than a Werther’s original), then remove from heat
4. Add in cubed butter, put it back on the element if if needs help melting, swirl it around but don’t stir.
5. Add your pear quarters, round side down (this will be the top) putting in as many as you can, they will give a little as they cook
6. Take your pastry sheet which will be almost defrosted by now, cut a rough circle a bit bigger than the pan and put this on top, use a knife or spoon to tuck it in around the edges & slash it a few times to let steam out.
7. Bake for about half an hour – you want the top to be a nice dark brown.
Then remove and rest for a few minutes while you grab your icecream & plates.
8. Shake the tart gently in the pan to dislodge it. Put a plate on top and using oven mitts flip it over, et voilà!
The pastry should be nice and dark when you remove it, this will mean the pears are nice and tender.