100 grams caster sugar
70 grams butter, cut into cubes
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
5 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
300 grams good-quality flaky puff pastry
vanilla ice cream or custard, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the sugar in a large oven-proof frying pan, approximately 25cm in diameter, and cook over a medium heat. Once it begins to dissolve, carefully shake the pan to evenly distribute. Heat until the sugar turns golden brown. Add the cubes of butter and vanilla bean paste and bring to a simmer, carefully shaking to combine. Neatly arrange the pears in the bottom of the pan – be careful as the caramel may spit.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until roughly 5mm thick. Cut into a 25cm circle and gently lay on top of the pears. Tuck the edges of the pastry in around the fruit. Return to the heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the caramel just begins to bubble up around the edges. Use a sharp knife to poke 6 small holes in the top of the pastry.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Gently run a knife around the edge of the pastry. Wearing oven gloves, place a large lipped plate on top of the frying pan and carefully flip over, inverting the tart onto the plate. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.
Wine match: Mt Difficulty Chenin Blanc