UPSIDE DOWN PEAR TART & VANILLA SEED CREAM
“I absolutely love cooked fruit desserts. It gives me such a sense of comfort and it’s super tasty.”
- 250ml (1 cup) white sugar (200g)
- 15ml (1 Tbsp) fresh lemon juice
- 60g butter
- 3 large pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges (Forelle is my preference, but Packham will work too)
- ½ roll puff pastry
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 egg and 30ml milk for egg wash
- Over a low heat, dissolve sugar and lemon juice in a non-stick pan.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to medium and boil until the sugar starts caramelising.
- When rich golden brown in colour, stir in the butter.
- Pour into a 22cm tart pan.
- Start packing the pear wedges with round side down in caramel. Pack the rest of the wedges the other way round between the first layer. The pears must be tight – as it cooks, the pears shrink.
- Cut vanilla pod in half lengthwise and with small paring knife, scrape out the seeds and add to pears before covering with pastry. This will enhance the flavour of the pears cooking in the caramel.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface. The pastry must be approximately 2cm bigger than your pan. Make a small hole in middle for the steam to escape.
- Brush the pastry with the egg and milk mixture.
- Bake at 180˚C for 45 – 55 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Be sure to check that the pastry is cooked through and the pears soft.
- Place a plate on top of the tart with a dishcloth, grab both sides and turn it out.
Chef Juan Neethling is the Executive Chef at Southern Sun Waterfront in Cape Town’s bustling foreshore. In 2018 he was awarded the Unilever Food Solutions Senior Chef of the year. From trainee chef at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West to over 20 years working in various hotels, fine dining restaurants and wine farms, Juan combines his love for cooking at home with his 5-star expertise in creating easy and accessible recipes anyone can try.