Tart Tatin is a classic upside-down tart, traditionally made with apples. It is named after the Tatin sisters of France, who are credited with its creation. The glory of the dessert is the caramelized fruit; in this case, pears.
Prepare Essential EatingWell Pie Pastry; refrigerate as directed.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rough circle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into a 10-inch circle with a sharp knife or pastry wheel (discard trimmings). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper, cover and freeze until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel pears, cut in half lengthwise and core. Toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice; set aside.
Combine 1/4 cup water and sugar in a heavy 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 minute. Uncover and cook, without stirring, until the syrup turns light amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Gently swirl if it is coloring unevenly.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. (Stand back, as caramel may sputter.) Return the skillet to low heat and stir until the caramel has dissolved. Add butter and stir until melted.
Arrange the pears cut-side down in the caramel in a tight circle, with 1 pear half in the center. Increase heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. With tongs, turn pears cut-side up and increase heat to high. Cook, uncovered, until pears are tender and caramel becomes a thick glaze, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Lay the pastry over the pears, turning the edges under to fit. (Let the steam from the pears warm the crust until it's pliable.)
Bake the tart until the crust is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Place a large flat serving platter on top of the tart; grasping platter and skillet with oven mitts, quickly invert. Remove the skillet. Let the tart cool for about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.