This tart took many tries to perfect. It’s a challenging, special occasion dessert—inspired by the pastry of France—but worth it
In a small saucepan, add wine and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil, reducing down to about a quarter cup of syrup. This takes about 10 minutes. The kitchen will start to smell like cinnamon.
In a tarte tatin pan (or any cast iron skillet, preferably eight to 10 inches in diameter), melt butter/margarine with the sugar and stir frequently over low-medium heat until it starts to turn a golden brown. Watch very carefully. The second it starts to turn brown, remove from heat. Lower heat and return the pan to the burner and let it turn a little more golden. Continue to watch carefully. Add the wine syrup and simmer on low. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves again
Peel the pears, cut into halves or quarters, and core (a mini melon baller helps). Arrange the halves (cut side up) or quarters (on their sides or belly side up if they’ll balance) in a circle around the pan (still over low heat) with thin ends pointed in. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat. The caramel will bubble up as the pears soften and pear juices seep out.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pâte sucrée dough (recipe below) from freezer/fridge and roll between two sheets of wax paper into a circle about one to two inches larger than your tatin pan. Remove the top sheet of wax paper, flip the crust over the fruit, and peel away the wax paper, tucking the dough in around the edges. Cut a few slits into the crust so steam can escape.
Bake for 30 minutes until crust turns a nice brown. Let cool.
Place a plate (slightly larger than the tatin pan) over the pan, and carefully flip the tatin on to the plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or gelato.
Add flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor and mix. Add frozen butter/margarine and pulse approximately ten times until the mixture is the consistency of corn meal. Add egg yolk and one tablespoon cold water, and pulse approximately five times. Add one tablespoon cold water, and pulse approximately five times. Add the last one tablespoon of water, a little at a time, pulsing in between additions, until the dough starts to come together. It will still be a bit crumbly.
Gather the dough into a ball, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 20 minutes before using, or keep frozen until ready to use and defrost at room temperature for about 15 minutes before using.