The tarte Tatin named after the Tatin sisters who invented it and served it in their hotel as its signature dish, is a pastry in which the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked. It originated in France but has spread to other countries over the years.

If you find this recipe too difficult, come and enjoy it on our Normandie cruise this coming July. We will also teach you how to make it in one of our interactive cooking lessons onboard.

Pear Tarte Tatin Recipe


For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stickbutter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup full fat sour cream

For the filling:

  • 2 pounds firm pears (about 5 pears)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar plus 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced candied ginger
  • Light grating fresh nutmeg (or a dash ground nutmeg)



  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Use your hands to work the (room temperature) butter into the flour until you see small, pea-sized pieces of butter. Stir in the sour cream with a fork. Form the dough into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out.
  2. Peel and halve the pears lengthwise. Reserve one pear half for the center of the tarte, and cut the remaining halves once more lengthwise.
  3. Core the pear quarters and the half. Peel the pears and place them in a bowl and sprinkle lemon juice, sprinkle with the extra sugar
  4. Melt butter in a solid pan on medium heat. Swirl the butter so that it coats the sides of the pan as well. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of sugar over the butter in an even layer. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Place the single pear half, cut side up, in the center of the pan. Fan the remaining pear quarters, with the narrow side pointing toward the center, around the center pear half. Angle them as you go as to fit all of the pears in. Make sure there aren’t any gaps.
  6. Return the pan to medium heat and gently cook without stirring the pears until the sugar butter mixture turns a deep caramel color, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a baking sheet pan.
  7. Sprinkle the pears with grated nutmeg and minced candied ginger.
  8. Set your oven to 375°F.
  9. Roll out the pastry dough to 11 inches for a 9-inch cast iron pan. Place the pastry dough over the pears and gently tuck the edges inside the edge of the pan (which is still hot) Use a fork to ease the dough inside the edges of the pan.
  10. Place the pan in the oven (on a baking sheetand reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until baked through and the pastry is nicely browned. Remove from the oven.
  11. Place a rimmed serving dish or a pyrex dish over the pan. Wearing thick, oven mitts using two hands to hold the dish firmly over the pan. Flip them over, releasing the tarte tatin to the plate.
  12. The caramel is hot and liquidy and can easily spill. So, take care and work quickly. .
  13. Flip the tarte over while the tarte tatin is still hot. That way the caramel will not make the tarte stick to the pan as you invert it. The pears will likely have moved a bit in the flip-over. So, rearrange them with a fork to form an attractive pattern.
  14. Let cool to just warm or room temperature before serving. Serve with a little dairy ice cream or whipped cream on the side.