For the base:
1. Cream the butter and sugar.
2. Add egg yolk and beat well.
3. Add flour and baking powder and mix to form a soft dough.
4. Press into 5cm muffin pans and prick well.
5. Bake at 180 degrees until golden brown.
For the filling:
1. Heat the milk and butter in a sauce pan on the stove.
2. Place the egg yolk in a ¼ cup measure and fill with gold water, combine with the corn flour and stir till mixed.
3. Add to the mixed mixture.
4. Simmer until thick.
5. Stir in the vanilla.
6. Beat the egg white to make a meringue with the sugar.
7. Fold into the thickened egg mixture.
8. Pour into the pastry cases and dust with cinnamon sugar.
For the poached pears:
1. Halve the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape out the black seeds and put in a large saucepan with the Castle Milk Stout, sugar and cinnamon. Cut each piece of pod into three long, thin strips, add to the pan, the lower in the pear slivers.
2. Poach the pears covered, for 20-30 minutes, making sure they are covered in the wine. The cooking time will very much depend on the ripeness of your pears.
3. You can make these up 2 days ahead and chill.
4. Remove the pears from the pan, let chill and top each milk tart with a pear sliver, sprinkle with cinnamon and vanilla pod.
For the caramel shard:
1. In a sauce pan, melt the sugar over low heat until dissolved.
2. Swirl onto baking sheet, break into shards and top each milk tart with a shard.
Recipe by Vicky Crease for Castle Milk Stout.