Viewers of BBC Channel 4 have a chance to get to know the lighter side of Chef Gordon Ramsey with his food 'video magazine' show The F Word. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you download a copy (bittorrent via Mininova)...it's got competitive cooking, slow-food perspectives and a slew of blitz-cooking demos from Ramsay.
Elizabeth spotted this awesome recipe for a spin on pear tatin...not only is it gorgeous, but it tastes as good as it looks. Link to recipe here...
What makes it clever is the way Ramsey disassembles the pear and then reassembles it with pastry dough & spices. Star Anise replaces the seeds, a vanilla bean moves in where the stem once was and puff pastry wraps around the peeled pear like a crispy flaky second skin.
Gordon demos this recipe in 1 minute flat...then you can follow along to see how well we copied him.
Here's Gordon doing his best impression of the Iron Chef Chairman
If Gordon went too fast for you, here's what you do.
Set one sheet of puff pastry out to thaw about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400.
Peel, then halve an Anjou pear and remove the stem and seeds. Here Elizabeth cores the sliced pear using a melon baller to create a nice clean cavity.
Then cut out a notch where the stem ran and replace it with half a vanilla bean. A star anise pod is popped into the hollowed out spot where the seeds once sat.
Next, place the pear face side down on the cutting board and lay the puff pastry sheet over it. Trace an outline around the pear with a knife, then fold the puff pastry around the edges...the pastry should be like a skin wrapped around the outside of the pear but leaving the cut-side face exposed to be carmelized.
Next, in a pan place equal amounts of butter & sugar stirred together to create a caramel in a pan. Watch it, this stuff goes from caramel to scorched garbage in 60 seconds flat.
Pull the pans off the heat and pour in a dash of dark rum...BE CAREFUL, it will splatter and hot sugar is very dangerous. Place your pear face side down in the caramel and then dust with powdered sugar.
Throw that pan in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pasty puffs...our pears sat in the fridge for a few hours, so we left them in the oven for about 15 minutes to achieve full puff.
Here's the final result...face down of course. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool, then carefully slide a knife under the pear and plate it face side up.
Serve it with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce from the pan. We're going to experiment with some smaller varieties of pears next to create mini-pear tatins so each person gets two-halves.