Pear tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream

Pear tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream

Lamingtons & lemon tart
Patricia Niven

This dessert is one of my absolute faves and a genuine classic – but with a twist. The crunchy pastry really makes this dessert stand out, so pay attention to the basting step in the method. This is the secret to this dessert and it ensures you have the crispiest and most caramelised puff pastry ever. Choose firm pears to ensure they don’t go mushy before you finish cooking.

When testing recipes for this book, I tested this out about a dozen times for precision, but I think I’ll give it another go just to make sure …


Quantity Ingredient

Vanilla ice cream

Quantity Ingredient
250ml full-cream milk
200ml thickened cream
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
100g caster sugar
5 egg yolks

Pear tarte tatin

Quantity Ingredient
2 corella pears, or another firm variety
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
90g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
pinch chinese five-spice, (optional)
20cm diameter puff pastry disc


  1. To make the vanilla ice cream, place the milk, cream, vanilla seeds and scraped pods in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Discard the pods.
  2. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl until they start to thicken and pale.
  3. Pour one-third of the hot milk mixture onto the yolk mixture and whisk well. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and cream and mix well with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Cook over medium–low heat, stirring constantly, until the ice cream base reaches a temperature of 82°C. Use a sugar or digital thermometer for accuracy.
  5. Prepare a large bowl of iced water.
  6. Remove the custard from the heat and strain into a bowl. Set this bowl in the larger bowl of iced water, stirring regularly, to cool the custard down quickly.
  7. Once cool, churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store the ice cream in the freezer until needed.
  8. For the pear tarte tatin, preheat the oven to 180°C. You will need a 20 cm diameter ovenproof shallow tin or tatin tin.
  9. Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthways. Use a corer to scoop out the core.
  10. Spread the butter over the base of the tin and sprinkle the sugar to cover the butter. Add the scraped vanilla seeds and pod along with the Chinese five-spice, if using.
  11. Place the pears, point towards the centre and cut side down, onto the sugar.
  12. Place the disc of pastry over the top of the pears and tuck any excess pastry underneath the round edges of the pear around the tin. We are looking for an unfussy and rustic style appearance to this dessert, so don’t be afraid to get in there and use your hands.
  13. Using a sharp knife, cut a small slice in the centre of the puff pastry to allow steam to escape while cooking.
  14. Place the pan on a stove, barbecue top or flame and heat over medium–high heat.
  15. As the pan starts to heat, shake it to avoid the contents from sticking and catching.
  16. Syrup will start to develop in the pan with the butter and sugar mixing and melting together. Use a spoon to scoop some of this syrup onto the back of the exposed puff pastry.
  17. Get the spoon into the centre cavity and ensure an all-over liberal soaking of the pastry with the syrup. Continue to shake the pan and keep the contents moving.
  18. Cook until the syrup turns a golden-brown colour then remove from the heat.
  19. Place the entire tin in the oven and cook for around 20–25 minutes or until the tatin looks cooked and the pastry is crisp.
  20. Remove from the oven and allow the tatin to cool for 5 minutes before attempting the flip.
  21. Use oven gloves or a tea towel to hold a serving plate inverted over the tin, then flip in one rapid motion until the plate is on the bottom and the tin is on the top. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  22. Cut into portions and serve the tatin immediately with some ice cream, cream, custard or all three.


  • You can make the ice cream base up to 4 days in advance but try to churn the ice cream on the day of serving for the best possible result.


  • Add some fresh grated ginger to the warm base and leave to infuse for an hour before straining for a warming ginger and vanilla ice cream twist.

    The pears can be substituted for another fruit if you wish. Try a tart including classic apple or exotic mango or pineapple. Add some spices of your choice when adding the vanilla seeds if you wish.
darren purchese
burch and purchese
sweet studio
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