Pear and Star Anise Tarte Tatin with Buttermilk Ice Cream

Serves 4-6
1 HR 25 MINS

This is one of the best desserts to come out of France. It's got to be oozing with fruit, oozing with caramel, it's got to be piping hot and it's got to have crunchy puff pastry. Making buttermilk ice cream is of course optional, but a delicious addition.

Marcus Everyday


Serves 4-6

For the tarte tatin

  • 5-6 large or 8 small Conference pears
  • 100g cold butter
  • 1 x 320g sheet of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 star anise

For the buttermilk ice cream

  • 280ml cultured buttermilk
  • 50ml milk
  • 280ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 200g condensed milk


Three days prior

Peel, quarter and core the pears and leave them in the fridge for 3 days, so they dry out a little.

For the buttermilk ice cream

Make the ice cream before baking the tarte tatin so it can freeze while you bake. Put the buttermilk, milk, double cream, honey and condensed milk in a large bowl. Blend using a stick blender until smooth. Strain the mix through a fine sieve into a metal or plastic freezeproof container. Cover and freeze for about 90 minutes, until the base and sides are starting to freeze. Remove from the freezer and vigorously stir with a balloon whisk or an electric whisk until smooth.

Refreeze, then repeat 3 or 4 more times at hourly intervals so that you end up with a smooth, creamy ice cream. If you have an ice cream machine, follow the manufacturer's instructions and you should have softly frozen ice cream within about 20 minutes.

For the tarte tatin

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Remove the butter from the fridge to allow it to soften slightly. Unroll the puff pastry sheet and cut it into a 24cm diameter circle (the same size or a little larger than the top diameter of the frying pan you're going to use in the next step). Place back on its baking parchment and refrigerate.

Squash the slightly softened butter in a 20cm diameter (at the base) ovenproof pan. Ensure there is an even layer on the base then add the sugar and swirl the pan to distribute evenly.

Grate the star anise into the sugar. Place the first piece of pear into the sugared butter, with the base at the edge of the pan, tip pointing towards the middle, then lay the rest of the pear pieces in the pan, covering each other like fallen dominoes.

Place the pan over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the butter and sugar begin to bubble and a golden caramel begins to form. Remove the pastry from the fridge and place it on top of the pears. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-7 minutes.

Place a plate on top of the pan and flip the entire pan over, whereby the tarte tartin should slip gracefully onto the place, ready to be sliced. Serve with the buttermilk ice cream.

Marcus' Tip:

You can make the whole thing a day ahead - just don't turn it out of the pan until you're ready to serve. When ready, heat it up on the hob, get the caramel loose again, put it into the oven briefly to warm it up, then it will be just as good as if you'd cooked it that day.

Find plenty more delicious dessert recipes from Marcus Wareing in his collection of cookbooks.