Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Pear and Ginger Tarte Tatin to celebrate French Bastille Day


It's French Bastille Day, and how better to celebrate than with a delicious and very simple to make Pear Tarte Tatin. Apparently the French don't say "Happy Bastille Day" they say Happy National Holiday, "Joyeux quatorze juillet!"The holiday marks the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789,  in Paris. The Bastille was originally built as a medieval fortress but then became a state prison. Our son and his family are living in Provence for now, and are travelling around in their camper on holidays, so it will be interesting to talk to them about their experiences on their National Day. When I saw this Tarte Tartin recipe on the lovely Lorraine's blog, @Not Quite Nigella, I had to make it. In fact I made three of them when I was in Cairns, just to perfect it of course. Mr. HRK is quite the fan of a Tarte Tatin. Pears are so plentiful, so it is the perfect  economical dessert to cook right now.

Mr. HRK and I had just arrived  in Marseille in 2009, which seems so long ago, and were amazed on arrival that nothing, and I mean nothing, seemed to be open on a working day during the week. We then saw barricades being erected and police arriving, and we realised that there was going to be a street parade. We were really hungry, and the only place we could find open to dine in was a McDonalds. So unashamedly as tired tourists, we stumbled in there, and discovered with my limited French, that it was Bastille Day. However we were very disappointed that we hadn't found a charming little French cafe to dine in. That came the following day. We had been staying with a French family prior to travelling to Marseille, and they hadn't mentioned to us that it was Bastille Day on the 14th July, and what to expect. Oh well, it made us wonder how significant the National day actually is to the French people. I'm sure it is though.

Ginger and vanilla are flavours that marry with pears very well, although  just use vanilla if you wish in this recipe. Golden Syrup is the secret ingredient here, making this recipe very simple to make instead of needing to make a caramel. Lorraine suggests that you could also use rosemary, cinnamon, almonds, citrus and chocolate, for extra flavour enhancement, or a splash of your favourite liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Kirsch, brandy or a dessert wine (yum). It is really a blank canvas to work with with so many options to choose from.

Let's Cook:


Serves 6, make that 4 in our house

1/3 cup/100g/3.5 ozs golden syrup

2 thin slices fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced into matchsticks, or small blobs of bottled ginger if you wish

1 vanilla bean, split in half (I used 1 teaspoon Vanilla bean paste)

550 g/1.2 lbs Pears, or enough to fit the base of your springform tin

2 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed

1 1/4 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed in the frig (essential to use butter puff pastry)


Spray the base and sides of a 23cm/8 inch springform pan with oil spray and line the base with baking paper. A 20 cm pan will be fine as well. 

Just in case, place your springform pan in another tray with a lip on it to catch any drips. This shouldn't happen with a newish pan.

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.5.

Gently warm your golden syrup (about 10 seconds in the microwave) and pour onto the lined base of your tin and spread to the edges with a pastry brush. Then sprinkle the ginger around the base and add the seeds from the vanilla bean halves on top. I just spread small blobs of the vanilla bean paste over the ginger. 

In this photo below, I had used bottled ginger because I was in a hurry, and just placed small spoonsful of it over the golden syrup, and it still tasted delicious. Sometimes we just need to improvise with what we've got on hand and what is available.

Preparing the pears:

The pears need to be peeled, sliced in half from top to bottom, and the cores removed. I found this really simple to do with a teaspoon or with the knife I peeled them with. 

Place the pears in the tin, domed side down. Scatter the cubed butter over the top.

Place the whole sheet of puff pastry over the pears, and tuck in the sides, creating a nice raised ridge. Oops, the large sheet should have gone in first. I corrected this and placed the whole sheet in and then the 1/4 sheet on the top. I wonder if it would really have made that much difference to the result.

 Then place the 1/4 sheet in the centre so that there is some more puff pastry when the tart is cooked, that's always good, don't you think, the more puff the better? Just add more pastry if you think it is needed. It won't be noticeable when the tart is turned out later.

If the pastry is still cold, your tart can be cooked straight away. Otherwise, pop it back into the frig to chill for 20 minutes. The pastry will cook so much better and puff up beautifully.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and puffed. Take it out of the oven, give a little cheer, and leave it to cool for 3-4 minutes.

Now for the slightly tricky part.

Place a serving tray over the top of the springform tin, and I suggest a light serving tray,  and quickly turn upside down, scraping onto the tray any caramel sauce that is left in the tin.

Remove the tin and decorate as you wish. I used mint leaves as I had them and I liked the colour contrast and the freshness and the slightly minty flavour they brought to the dish, however if you use the scraped vanilla beans, they look fantastic, laid over the top of the pie.

Serve with ice cream, preferably ginger or vanilla.

I've also made an Apple Tarte Tatin and a Plum Tarte Tatin over the years. Always delicious.

Bon appetit,



  1. What a fantastic dessert! Pear and ginger are amazing together.

    1. Thanks so much Angie, it is a delicious combination.

  2. Pauline, that looks so yummy especially in this cold weather. I have tried to comment on other posts but they rarely go through unless I am on the PC. Not much use trying on my phone with its small screen and the iPad has given up on allowing me to comment....even on my own blog! Not happy Jan!

  3. Thanks so much Chel, I've just upgraded to a new laptop and a large screen because the other one was slow, trying to work in a few screens when writing my blog. I also can't comment on some other blogs on my phone. Very frustrating. I might mention to Follow it, the software company that handle my blog emails now since Feed burner stopped working, that some people are having trouble replying on their phones. All the best, Pauline

  4. This looks delicious. I am saving this recipe for when my pears are ripe

    1. How wonderful to have your own pears growing Anne. This would be perfect. Thanks so much.

  5. I usually don't like that much very sweet cakes, for this recipe I make an exception :)

    1. Any tart or cake with fruit in it, is ok in my books. Thanks Balvinder

  6. This is lovely, Pauline! And you have just given me the perfect dessert for our next themed dinner (I’m responsible for dessert) — the them is “stems”, so ginger stems will work perfectly!

  7. What a perfect theme for a dinner party David, and everyone loves a Tarte Tatin. Thanks so much and enjoy.


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