I was challenged by Salter to create a pear tarte tatin to Heston Blumenthal's exacting standards. Having never made a tarte tatin before, I was a little apprehensive. Salter sent me all of the equipment I would need to very precisely follow Heston's own recipe; a precision kitchen scale, an adjustable rolling pin, adjustable measuring spoons, spatulas and a professional kitchen whisk, all part of the Heston Blumenthal Precision range.
For a change, I cooked this recipe alone. Hot caramel and delicate slicing don't mix well with preschoolers, and I'm not sure the word "precision" is one I'd use when I'm cooking with my girls! And this was certainly an exercise in precision.
There were lots of individual ingredients to weigh out from tiny quantities right through to an enormous mound of sugar. I found the dual-plate precision scale invaluable. Not only does the large plate measure upto 10kg, the smaller plate can measure in 0.1g increments for when you really must get things right.
I used the clever adjustable rolling pin to roll out my (ready made... shock!) puff pastry into exactly the right thickness for the base of the tarte. I think the rolling pin will be awesome for when I am rolling icing for the girl's birthday cakes (although it does have measurements printed on it which might scupper my chances of a smooth finish).
My favourite item from the Heston Precision range was this large professional whisk which is about three times as big as my old whisk - perfect for blending an almond and butter frangipane.
The pears were poached gently in a liquer made from caramel, honey, vanilla, star anise, peppercorns, lemon and cinnamon. The most intricate part of the tarte tatin was slicing the poached pears finely to place at the bottom of the tins. On the top I piped the frangipane and then tucked in my circles of puff pastry before putting in the oven.
And this is the finished article. I'm rather proud of it. A traditional tarte tatin is one of my most favourite desserts in the entire world but this, this really is something special. Very fitting for a wedding anniversary treat, I think!