I celebrated my seventeenth birthday on the outskirts of Versailles. I had been in France for a few weeks on exchange and was captivated by Paris in the springtime, by France anytime, really. And then on my birthday, my host family put candles in an apple tarte tartin and sang me a joyeux anniversaire. It was my first tarte tartin and my last until now.
This savoury version is so much easier than the French classic. There is no faffing around with caramel sauce, just a gentle caramelisation of onions, which is more stirring than skill.
Here's how you do it:
1. Pick a good frypan that can be transferred to the oven, set it on a medium heat and add butter and olive oil.
2. When the butter is melted add thinly sliced onions and stir to coat them all in butter/oil mix. Turn down the heat and stir until soft and melty.
3. Add a sprinkle of sugar and a little dash of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Keep stirring.
4. Add sliced, peeled pear and a sprinkle of dried or fresh thyme. I used a hardish pear variety because I wanted the sliced to keep their shape. Stir gently, combining with the onion.
5. When the pears are softened but not mush, remove the pan from the heat. Let cool for a few minutes and pat down with the back of a spoon so the mixture is evenly spread around the pan. If you're super fussy or aesthetically minded with your food, you can carefully arrange the cooked pear sliced on the bottom of the pan then add the onion, so you have a nice pattern on top of the final dish.
6. Place a sheet of pastry over the onion and pear mixture, pressing into down over the lump and bumps and making sure the whole lot is covered. Don't worry about trimming the edges, just fold or smoosh them down around the pan. I used a sheet of ready-made puff pastry but other types or homemade will work as well. Layers of buttered filo would be delicious and light.
7. Put into the oven at a temperature appropriate for the pastry you're using (mine cooked well at around 180-200 celcius). Let cook until golden brown (mine was done in around 20 minutes).
8. Cut around the edges of the pastry to loosen from the pan if necessary then put a plate/board over the pastry and invert. You'll end up with the classic tarte tartin look - crisp pastry on the bottom and the onion and pear on the top.
I served this as a main with salad - Lovely Husband referred to it as a French fruit pizza - but it'd also be great as a side dish or sliced thinly for appetisers. You could also make individual portions in a shallow muffin tray.
Are you a fan of savoury fruit dishes? Have you ever tried to re-imagine a classic?
Linking up with Little Wolff's My Kitchen Monday