Have you ever looked at a favorite cookbook for years, perhaps even decades, and never noticed a recipe in it? Yesterday I was leafing through a Gui Gedda cookbook (Cooking School Provence) and came across his recipe for ‘Tatin de Poires’, or as I renamed it ‘Pear Tarte Tatin Coffee Cake’. I can’t believe I never noticed it, it’s a beautiful cake that is extremely simple to prepare.
Last weekend I risked life and limb climbing a shaky ladder stretched to its extreme limits to grab the ripest and most beautiful fruit growing near the top of my pear tree. I loathe wasting food and hate seeing perfectly good fruit rotting on the street in front of people’s houses. Last week I had already made a pear galette and pear sorbet was looking for something new and fun to make.
Gui Gedda’s pear tarte Tatin coffee cake is perfect for my sweetness level. It has just enough sweetness to keep it a dessert but not so over the top that the sugar becomes cloyingly sweet. This is a dish you can make with the small ones in your family. Give this autumn dish a try this weekend and tag us at #PistouandPastis so we can see what you did!
Pear Tarte Tatin Coffee Cake
An upside-down cake made with caramelized honey and ripe pears, but can be made with almost any fruit that you like.
- 2 tbsp butter to butter pan
- 5 tbsp honey try lavender
- 4 ripe pears peeled and cored
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup honey
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 12 tbsp room temperature butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 10-inch cake pan with parchment paper and butter well. Put the 5 tablespoons of honey into a pot and caramelize, about three minutes. Pour into prepared cake pan.
Cut each pear half crosswise into thin slices and press slightly to fan slices. Use a spatula to lift pears and arrange on top of caramelized honey like spokes of a wheel. Repeat till all the pears are used.
Beat eggs and honey in a stand mixer till creamy and light, about ten minutes. If your honey has solidified or even crystalized then warm in a pan or microwave first.
Add flour and baking powder. The mixture will get super thick but do not worry. Beat in soft butter and now you are almost ready to bake your cake. Gui Gedda describes pouring the batter into the cake pan but I found the batter too thick for pouring. So I used a spoon to drop bits of cake batter into the empty spaces between the pears. Then I used a spatula to smear the rest of the cake batter evenly over the top of the pears. Be careful not to smear too hard or the pears will slide around and your cake will not look as pretty.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out cleanly.
Like everything else in life, this recipe is highly customizable. Gui Gedda recommends poaching your pears first in a simple syrup. I did not do that because the pears I used were extremely ripe and already soft enough. If you poach your pears you can add some complementary flavors like vanilla or even saffron. Pears are great with cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and even rosemary. Have fun, make this recipe your own.