Culinary Vacations in France: Pear Tarte Tatin Recipe

November 19, 2020  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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A beautiful basket of pears.The tarte and the tarte tatin are similar, but there’s a distinct difference: the tarte tatin looks like it’s been flipped upside down and is served right out of the oven. It’s also a dessert that’s most associated with the Loire Valley of France.

Check out our cooking vacations in France.

pear tarte tatinThere’s no question that the tarte tatin got its start with two French sisters with the last name Tatin, who ran a hotel in a small town. But then how it got its start depends on who you ask; some say that it was pure accident and one of the sisters accidentally put it in the oven in the wrong way. Others claim the recipe was purposeful! Either way, the tarte tatin came to be associated with their hotel, and it was one of the most popular treats.

While it’s most often made with apples, it isn’t always – just like the more traditional tarte. As this recipe from the chefs of our Gourmet Cuisine in France demonstrates, it can also be made with other fruit, like pears. This particular recipe can serve four people.

See our Grand Tour of the Loire Valley and Biking through a Loire Valley Wine Tour.
Pear tart enjoyed on a French food and wine tour.

Pear Tarte Tatin

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15
Cook time: 30
Cook method: Baking


  • 2 pears
  • Puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole almonds
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 25 grams (1tbs and 2 tsp) butter

Making a tarte tatin in a French kitchen1. Using an 8-inch frying pan (make sure that it can also fit into your oven), warm the butter and sugar. Allow both to simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. After peeling and quartering the pears, carefully add them into the pan. Be sure that each slice of pear touches a base of the pan, and that they’re evenly distributed.
3. Next, sprinkle the almonds over the pear, sugar, and butter mixture. Allow all of this to continue to cook; you’ll know it’s done when the underside of the pears has turned a golden brown.
4. Take the pan off the heat.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (or 375°F).
6. While the oven preheats, very carefully lay the puff pastry over the top of the pan.
7. Put the pan into the oven, and allow it to cook until the pastry has risen and turned a golden brown. This should take about 15 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it cool, about 15-20 minutes.
9. Using a clean serving plate, turn the pan over quickly onto the serving plate.
10. The chefs recommend serving it warm, perhaps with a bit of whipped cream, ice cream, or créme frâche.

Amboise in the Loire ValleyWhile it isn’t as traditional as other tarte tatin recipes, the chefs still recommend to serve it warm, although IF you don’t finish it – which is a big if once you take that first bite! – it can also keep for a few days afterwards.

To learn more delicious dishes like this one, our cooking vacations in France!

Or check out more of our favorite dessert recipes, including:

By Liz Hall

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