Pie filling6ripe pears, such as beurre bosc or Williams 110 gm (½ cup) golden caster sugar30 mlpoire William or dessert wineFor dusting:Demerara sugarVanilla pastry450 gm (3 cups) plain flour120 gmpure icing sugar, sieved225 gmcold butter, coarsely chopped1vanilla bean, scraped seeds onlyVanilla custard450 mlpouring cream50 mlpoire William or dessert wine1vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped4egg yolks85 gmgolden caster sugar
For pastry, combine flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor, add butter and vanilla seeds and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 3-4 tbsp iced water, pulse until mixture just comes together, then turn onto a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Peel pears, cut into sixths, removing cores, place in a bowl with sugar and poire William, toss to coat, then arrange in a single layer on an oven tray and roast, turning occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden and tender. Cool.
For custard, combine cream, poire William and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and bring just to the boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes. In a bowl, whisk yolks and sugar until thick and pale, pour over cream mixture and whisk to combine. Return to pan, stir over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then strain and cool over ice.
Roll two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and use to line 6 buttered 9.5cm-diameter pie pans. Roll remaining pastry to 3mm thick and using a 12cm-diameter cutter, cut out 6 circles, then using a 1.5cm-diameter cutter, cut a circle from the centre of each. Brush edges of lined pans with water and divide pears among pans. Place a pastry round over each pan, press to seal, trim edges, brush tops with water, scatter over Demerara sugar and bake at 180C for 20 minutes. Using a funnel, pour a little custard into centre of pies and bake for another 5 minutes or until custard is set and pies are golden. Serve warm with extra custard passed separately.