Pear Tart


275 g (9 oz) 2 1/4 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
125 g (4 oz) 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
125 g (4 oz) 1/2 cup butter, diced
1 egg
1 egg yolk
few drops of vanilla essence
2 - 3 tsp water
sifted icing (confectioners') sugar, for sprinkling


4 tbsp apricot jam
60 g (2 oz) amaretti or ratafia biscuits, crumbled
850 - 1 kg (1 3/4 - 2 lb) pears, peeled and cored
1 tsp ground cinnamon
90 g (3 oz) 1/2 cup raisins
60 g (2 oz) 1/3 cup soft brown or demerara sugar


1. Sift the flour and salt on to a flat surface, make a well in the centre and add the sugar, butter, egg, egg yolk, vanilla essence and most of the water.

2. Using your fingers gradually work the flour into the other ingredients to give a smooth, pliable dough, adding a little more water if necessary. Wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill for an hour or until firm. Alternatively, put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until evenly blended and smooth.

3. Roll out about three-quarters of the dough and use to line a shallow 25 cm (10 inch) cake tin or deep flan tin. Spread the apricot jam over the base and sprinkle with the crushed biscuits.

4. Slice the pears very thinly. Arrange over the biscuits in the pastry case. Sprinkle first with cinnamon then with raisins, and finally with the brown sugar.

5. Roll out a thin sausage shape using about one-third of the remaining dough, and place around the edge of the pie. Roll the remainder into thin sausages and arrange in a lattice over the pie, 4 or 5 strips in each direction, attaching them to the strip around the edge.

6. Cook in a preheated oven, 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6, for about 50 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with sifted icing (confectioners') sugar.

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