A little while ago I was challenged by Salter to take part in a cooking challenge. They asked me to create a dish by Heston Blumenthal using a few pieces from his precision range of cooking accessories. I was sent some kitchen scales, spatulas, a rolling pin, a whisk and some measuring spoons.
I was asked to create a Pear Tarte Tatin following Heston’s own recipe. I will be honest with you and say that I had never made one before and looking at the recipe I was actually very unsure if I would be successful in recreating Heston’s masterpiece. To say there was a lot of preparation for the dish would be an understatement.
I started by measuring out all the ingredients out. I used the scales and measuring spoons for this job. I love the Dual Plate Scales. They make measuring so much fun. You use the big plate for measuring larger quantities up to 10kg and the smaller plate for measuring ingredients up to 200g. The spoons are useful for measuring both liquids and dry ingredients and they are very accurate and precise as you can brush off excess ingredients by using the sliding leveller on the top of each spoon.
As the recipe required making a caramel sauce (a very hot substance containing sugar, butter, honey, vanilla pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, lemon rind, apple juice and peppercorns) I had Matthew help me instead of the boys. He was on stirring, pear poaching and pear cutting duty whilst I was on making frangipane filling and pastry duty. The frangipane involved whisking and lots of it, I have to admit with my carpal tunnel this was a bit of a problem but using the Professional Whisk I found it was much easier to get the ingredients to come together and it didn’t take too long either as the whisk is much larger than our normal whisks. The recipe says to use ready made pastry (I’m not going to argue with that). Using my adjustable rolling pin, it was incredibly easy to roll the pastry out to the required thickness of 3mm. The rolling pin will certainly be useful for rolling other things in the future such as pastry for pies or icing for cakes as it comes with 3 different depth guides. It also has width guides on the side of the rolling pin so you can measure the size of the pastry to its rolled out to exactly to the size you need.
You can make individual tartes or like I did one large one – it was going to be shared between the five of us. To assemble the tarte I placed the pears in an ovenproof dish and then piped some of the frangipane filling on top of them. I placed the pastry over the top and made sure I tucked all the edges into the pan. I placed the dish in the oven for 20 minutes. Once the time was up I left the dish to cool for 10 minutes – molten sugary foods can be very hot when straight out of the oven. Once it had cooled a little I turned the tarte out onto a plate. As you can see from the pictures below it worked quite well. I served each of us a piece with some fresh squirty cream.
If I was to make the tarte again I would consider making individual tartes and maybe slicing the pears so that they were slimmer pieces rather than halved pieces.