bob does not dislike pears, but he likes apples better. So is was a remarkable act of self-constraint that a substitution was not made in this recipe, in view of the fact that a web search turned up many apple versions of the classic French dish. This is a recipe he would never have found if not for Miriam, who is a devoted NY Times reader and had already tried it several times. Which was a strong vote in its favor given our appreciation for her good taste. It did not hurt that we had recently tried a pear walnut tart from our favorite Italian food source Carlino's and had liked it. Plus we have already down repeatedly a successful traditional French apple tarte.
The upside-down cake category to which it belongs is the reason bob followed through. While an admitted lover of traditional upside-down cakes (like pineapple!), the team founder had never actually made one himself. One of those odd things like Italians and cheesecakes no doubt. This seemed to be a good occasion to give it a try. For this recipe, the only part that seemed risky before the execution was the flip of the pan to upside-down the tart. It turned out to be not a problem. Of course bob's usual advice to ani to read the recipe through carefully before beginning turned was not followed by the team leader on this one, which talks about only halving the peeled pears and removing the core. Not only is it a lot easier to core the pears if you quarter them lengthwise, they arrange in a circle together much more cooperatively as quarters than halves. What was a bit perplexing was the refusal of the liquid from the pears in the caramelized syrup to evaporate after a long time compared to the recipe. We just jammed it into the oven after a while and it seemed to be okay. One mistake we made was tossing in some dark rum during the initial caramelization process. The sugar did not like it and hissed while clumping up. Some of the clumps solidified into rock candy and had to be removed, though most of the mixture was salvageable. Even before that we started melting the butter in the pan since some recipes had gone that route, but not this one. We pulled out the stick when we realized it so there was a bit of a coating of melted butter for the sugar to start with. After the booze improvisation failed we added a bit more butter, but the water that oozes out of the pears is really sufficient moisture if the original recipe is followed. Another bright idea was to throw in some roasted walnut baking pieces just before laying down the pie crust. We forgot them in the oven so they were toast, forcing us to stick to the original game plan.
A year and a half before this occasion, the next door neighbor of my adopted Italian family in the beach town of Sabaudia south of Rome learned of the dr bob dessert reputation inspired by some local cheesecake production. Proudly she wanted to show her talents in the torta department and showed us how she made a pineapple upside-down cake in and on her neighbor's stove but the unfamiliar kitchen led to some glitches that spoiled the aesthetic appeal of the finished product. She made another one for dr bob the next weekend to restore her image and the cakes. The next summer the sad news was delivered to the returning dr bob: Marisa had died. Old age. But she left behind her recipe with the team. We'll have to give it a try soon.
easy approach start here: