- 6 ripe pears, such as beurre bosc or Williams
- 110 gm golden caster sugar (½ cup)
- 30 ml poire William or dessert wine
- For dusting: Demerara sugar
- 450 gm plain flour (3 cups)
- 120 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
- 225 gm cold butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only
- 450 ml pouring cream
- 50 ml poire William or dessert wine
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 4 egg yolks
- 85 gm golden caster sugar
- 1For 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.
- 2Meanwhile, 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.
- 3For 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.
- 4Roll 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.
Drink Suggestion: Italian passito dessert wine. Drink suggestion by Max Allen