1 cup (220g) caster sugar, plus extra to top
6 ripe pears, peeled, halved, cored (see tip)
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
125g butter, cubed
¼ cup (60ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (160g) apricot jam
½ cup (60g) almond meal
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C for fan-forced. Grease a 22cm loose-based flan pan.
2. Place 2 cups water and ¾ cup of sugar in a large, deep frying pan. Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add pear halves and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat.
3. Meanwhile, sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in lemon rind and remaining sugar. Rub in butter, using fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in centre and add combined egg, milk and vanilla extract. Mix to form a soft dough.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, until smooth. Wrap one-third of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Pat and press remaining dough into base and sides of prepared pan. Spread half of jam over base and top with almond meal. Arrange drained pear halves over almond. Heat remaining jam in a small saucepan on low and brush a little over pears, reserving a little.
5. Roll chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut into 1cm-wide strips. Arrange over pears in a lattice pattern, trim edges and press down to seal. Brush with remaining jam. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden. Serve.