Liven up bonfire night with a deliciously spicy tarte tatin

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November is almost here, and it's one of our favourite months - full of dazzling colours, deliciously frosty mornings and bonfires galore. Whether you’re feeding a hungry crowd or want a perfect hot pud that warms from the inside, our feisty pear and peppercorn tarte tatin is the answer.

This recipe, from Head Gardener Ned Trier, uses windfall pears and Szechuan peppercorns from our Five-spice pepper crate. Ned used a 24cm heavy frying pan so if yours is bigger, you may need to increase the quantities a little. As you can see, he has an interesting measuring system, which may not suit all cooks, so if you prefer your quantities a little more specific, you can use any tarte tartin recipe and just add in the peppercorns as described below. Feeds 4-6.

A large fistful of butter

Plenty of white sugar

1 tsp of Szechuan peppercorns, crushed to a powder

2-3 handfuls of pears, peeled, cored and halved (or quartered if very large)

I sheet of ready rolled puff pastry

You will need an ovenproof frying pan.

Heat the oven to 200/180 fan. Cut out a large circle of pastry 2cm bigger than the size of an oven-proof frying pan.

Squidge the cold butter evenly across the base of the pan and strew sugar liberally over the top so that it completely covers the butter. Sprinkle the crushed pepper evenly over the top. Carefully place the pears, pretty side down, in circles so the pieces are touching but not overlapping.

Place on the hob and cook for 15-20 minutes until you see golden caramel bubbling up between the pears. Don’t peek, don’t stir, and definitely don’t be tempted to remove from the heat before optimum golden caramelisation has been achieved.

Turn off the heat and place the pastry circle over the pears. Tuck it in all the way around, so that no fruit is showing. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and set aside for ten minutes to cool slightly.

Now for the tricky bit. Place a large plate over the pastry and very, very carefully (remembering the caramel will be extremely hot) invert the tart onto the plate. The tart may be quite slippery, so take great care to avoid being splashed by the hot sauce.

Serve with crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt.

Tuesday 15th October, 2019