As Maria Mideos explains, ‘My mum’s pear tart was her signature dish. Even though I had never tasted it, the smell in the kitchen is a memory that never goes away. We used to go to the market together to choose the pears. Every time I cook it, I close my eyes and the smell around me is the closest thing to hugging her again. It’s the most important recipe I can ever make – it’s our way of meeting each other.’
Ingredients (serves 8)
1-2 pears, finely sliced
Icing sugar, to dust (optional)
For the crust
300g (2 cups) plain flour
115g good-quality butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
For the filling
230g (1 cup) caster sugar
85g good-quality butter, melted
2-3 pears, peeled and finely sliced
If preparing pears beforehand, make sure you keep them in water, with a squeeze of lemon juice added, to stop them from oxidising and turning brown.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
For the crust, place the flour and butter in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it is a sandy consistency. Add the salt and cinnamon and mix well, then add the egg and mix with your hands until the dough comes together. Press the dough into the base and side of the prepared tart tin, place in the oven and bake for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
For the filling, whisk together the sugar and eggs until combined. Add the butter and beat until combined. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is smooth. Using a spoon, fold in the peeled and slice pears.
Pour the filling into the tart shell and arrange the unpeeled sliced pears on top. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until golden and firm. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool for about 30 minutes. To serve, dust with icing sugar, if you like.
‘Family’ by Hetty McKinnon, with photography by Luisa Brimble and published by Pan Macmillan Australia, is available in paperback (RRP$39.95) or e-book (RRP$17.95) online or from all good bookshops throughout Australia.