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Bringing Christmas flavors to apple tarte tatin and transforming it into a mulled wine pear tarte tatin. Imagine perfectly poached pears simmered in spiced mulled wine sitting on a flaky puff pastry crust and that's what you have here. Absolutely divine!
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What makes this recipe special
Ever since I had mulled wine in Germany, I've been hooked. There's just something about the warm wine infused with citrus and spices that makes it feel like the holidays. If I'm not drinking the beverage, I'm incorporating it into a dessert. Last year, it was a mulled wine caramel basque cheesecake. This year, I'm taking a traditional apple tarte tatin, replacing the apples with pears, and adding mulled wine to the mix. Yes, it's quite a change from the classic dessert but it is still incredibly delicious if I do say so myself, not to mention festive!
- Sweet red wine: Choose a red wine with a good balance of tannins and acidity. It's essential to choose a wine that you enjoy drinking on its own since the flavors will be infused into the mulled wine. Additionally, avoid using expensive wines, as the spices and other ingredients will influence the wine's original characteristics. Some examples of red wine you can use include Zinfindel, Syrah, Malbec, and Pinot Noir.
- Orange: Provides a citrusy brightness to the mulled wine.
- Spices: To infuse the wine with warm spices, we're simmering it with cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. You can also add nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom if you like.
- Pears: Use a type of baking pear such as Bosc, Anjou, or Comice. The pears must be ripe but still firm so that they don't turn into mush after they are baked.
- Puff pastry: You can prepare your own crust or take a shortcut like I did and use puff pastry for the base.
How to make mulled wine pear tarte tatin
Step 1: Poach pears
To prepare this special holiday dessert, begin by poaching the pears. Since this recipe takes a bit of time to prepare, you can break it up into steps and prepare the pears up to 3 days in advance. In fact, I prefer to poach them the day before and let them drain overnight.
In a large pot, combine a bottle of fruity red wine, such as Shiraz or Zinfandel, with granulated sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, and the juice of half an orange. Slice the remaining orange half and add it to the pot.Join the The California Wine Club affiliate program
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then carefully introduce the pears. To keep them submerged, scrunch up a sheet of parchment paper and place it directly on top of the pears. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, rotating the pears halfway through.
Once the pears are poached, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander, allowing any excess liquid to drain. Remove the orange slices and spices from the wine. Then, increase the heat to medium and continue simmering until the liquid reduces to ½ cup, forming a thick, syrupy consistency. Be attentive during this step and take your time, as the wine can easily burn. Remove the pot from heat and set aside.
If you're making the reduced mulled wine syrup ahead of time, you'll notice that it thickens up even further as it cools. Don't worry, all you have to do is quickly reheat it in the microwave before using it later on.
Step 2: Prepare tarte tatin
Now that the pears are ready, let's prepare the caramel. In a large sauté pan, evenly distribute ¾ cup of granulated sugar in a layer and heat over medium heat. Melt the sugar, cooking until it transforms into an amber-brown color. We don't want the caramel to be too dark since it will darken once we add the mulled wine syrup.
Remove the caramel from heat and whisk in butter until well combined. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the reserved reduced mulled wine, then return the pan to medium heat. Add the poached pears, gently stirring them to coat in the caramel. Continue simmering for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the moisture from the pears to seep out and create a sauce.
Transfer the caramel-coated pears to the prepared cast iron pan, arranging them with the cut side facing up. Drizzle ¼ cup of the caramel sauce on top, reserving the rest for serving. We don't want to add all of the caramel or the tarte tatin will be too saucy.
Allow the arrangement to rest for 10 minutes, letting the pears slightly cool before laying the puff pastry.
Step 3: Bake
Meanwhile, lightly dust a work counter with flour and roll out the puff pastry until it's about 2 inches larger than the cast iron pan. You can also make pie dough for the crust instead of using puff pastry. If making the dough, you'll need 300 grams total.
Carefully place the puff pastry on top of the pears tucking in the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut three slits in the puff pastry to let the steam escape.
Then, pop the mulled wine pear tarte tatin in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry achieves a golden-brown hue. After removing it from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes.
Now comes the tricky part, flipping the tart over. I like to run an offset spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen any fruit that might be stuck. Then, place a plate directly on top of the tart and carefully tilt the pan to release any juices. Depending on the ripeness of your tarts, you may or may not have any juices.
Then, invert the tart, rearranging any pears that may have shifted. Serve the holiday dessert warm with vanilla ice cream and extra reserved mulled wine caramel on the side. You can also save the juices from the cooked tart and use that as a syrup as well.
Based on how delicious my mulled wine caramel basque cheesecake was, I expected this tarte tatin to be just as delicious. Fortunately, it was! The beautifully tender pears are bursting with the flavors of mulled wine while the pastry is crisp and flaky. And that extra caramel syrup on top is the cherry on the sundae!
Frequently asked questions
If you don't have a cast iron pan, you can use a similar-sized oven-safe skillet or transfer the caramelized pears to a greased baking dish before adding the puff pastry.
Don't worry! You can carefully unstick the fruit from the pan and gently place it back on the tart. No one will be able to tell and it'll still taste amazing.
Tarte tatin is best served fresh because the crust will soften over time. If you do have leftovers, you can store leftovers in the fridge wrapped tightly. Reheat slices in the oven at 300 degrees F, but the crust won't be crisp.
Once you invert the tart, the crust will turn soggy within an hour. However, you can bake the tart and keep it in the pan. Then, when ready to serve, reheat the tart in the oven at 300 degrees F until warm. Warming the tart will loosen the fruit from the pan and help it flip better.
More pear dessert recipes
Looking for more pear dessert ideas? Try these:
Mulled Wine Pear Tarte Tatin
- 8 small, ripe yet firm baking pears peeled, cored, and halved
- 1 bottle fruity red wine such as Shiraz or Zinfandel (750 ml)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 orange halved
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- ¼ cup butter (57 grams)
- 2 tablespoons reduced mulled wine
- 1 sheet puff pastry (245 grams)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron pan with butter.
- Pour red wine into a large pot and add sugar, honey, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise. Squeeze juice from ½ orange and add to the pot. Slice the other orange half and add to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and add the pears. Scrunch up a sheet of parchment paper and place directly on top of the pears to keep them submerged. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, rotating the pears halfway through.
- Remove pears with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain excess liquid. Remove orange slices and spices from wine. Increase heat to medium and continue to simmer until reduced to ½ cup and the liquid is thick and syrup. Keep an eye on the wine because once it starts to reduce, it can easily burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large saute pan, add ¾ cup sugar in an even layer. Heat the pan over medium heat and melt the sugar, continuing to cook until it turns amber brown in color. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, whisking until well combined. Add 2 tablespoons reserved reduced mulled wine, stirring to combine. Return the pan to medium heat and add the pears, gently stirring the pears to coat in the caramel. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove pears and transfer to prepare cast iron pan, arranging the pears with the cut side facing up. Drizzle ¼ cup of the caramel sauce on top, reserving the remaining sauce for serving. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lightly dust a work counter with flour and roll out the puff pastry so that it's 2-inches bigger than the cast iron pan. Place puff pastry on top of the pears, tucking in the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 slits in the puff pastry.
- Bake the mulled wine pear tarte tatin for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Place a plate directly on top of the tart and with one hand firmly securing the plate, carefully tip skillet over a bowl to drain any juices. When all the juices have been transferred to a bowl, carefully invert the pastry. If any pears shifted, rearrange them on the tart. Serve tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream and extra reserved mulled wine caramel if desired.