To make the pastry, add cold butter to flour and salt and rub in between fingers. Or use a food processor. (I run my wrists and hands under cold water to cool them down first). Rub the butter, flour and salt until they resemble breadcrumbs; some small, some the size of peas. Stir through the sugar and lemon zest. Add the egg and keep mixing until it just comes together in a ball, if needed add a tbsp of ice water. If using a food processor, do this part by hand. Flatten into a disc, wrap and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge before rolling out.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine 300ml of water and the 30g of sugar for the pears, bring to a simmer. Add the pears and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the pears are tender but not falling apart. Drain the pears in a colander and allow to cool. Continue to cook the cooking syrup until reduced, this can be poured over the tart when served (or it’s great in cocktails).
Dust a work surface with flour and roll the pastry into a 0.5cm/ ¼ inch thick circle. Roll the pastry up over the rolling pin, place the pan in front and unroll the pastry on top. Lift and drop the pastry into the edges of the tin, don’t push and stretch the pastry as this will create tears. A ball of leftover pastry can be used to help mould the pastry into the edges. Trim the edges of the pastry and crimp if desired. Chill in the fridge again for 20mins. During this time, preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Add a baking sheet to the oven at this point, giving it time to heat up. Rest the pie dish on this while cooking to prevent the base from becoming soggy.
Once chilled, prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork, then fill with baking beans or a suitable alternative. Place on the preheated baking tray and bake for 12. minutes. Take out of the oven and remove the baking beans, then bake for an additional 8 minutes. Allow the pastry to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/ gas 4.
To make the filling, combine ricotta, sugar, egg and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour in the milk while whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Pour the ricotta mixture into the pie and arrange the pears on top in a decorative pattern. Bake the pie for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is set but still has a slight jiggle in the centre. Cool completely before serving.