Turn the oven on to 180C (no fan) and preferably with heat coming from the base, if your oven will do this.
Peel, quarter and poach pears in a light sugar syrup (3tbsp unrefined caster sugar and 150ml water). Remove from syrup and cool.
Add 150 unrefined caster sugar to a shallow pan on a high heat. If you leave it, it will turn dark dark brown and probably set off the fire alarm. When it does, whack the alarm with a tea towel and take it off the heat. Pour in 150ml single cream (stand back, make sure you are wearing an apron), stir all the time until the caramel and cream are combined, then add about 50g cold butter and 150g chopped walnuts.
Now. Unfurl your ready made puff pastry.
Grease a loose bottomed flan case and line with the pastry. Place the pears on the base and pour the walnuts and caramel over them. Be careful not to over fill it.
Loosely drape the rest of the pastry over the top then press your thumb over the edges of the flan tin to release the spare pastry which is hanging over the edge.
I said ‘loosely drape’ because puff pastry shrinks. So you don’t want it taut because it will spring back into the centre when it cooks. Like it did when I tried to impress my first husband’s boss in 1975. Steak and kidney in a dish with a small (but admittedly tall) disc of pastry in the centre!
Brush with beaten egg.
Place on a baking tray which has been in the oven whilst you’ve been bringing it to temperature. (The tray will catch the drips but the heat from the tray will encourage the pastry on the base to crisp up quickly.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.
I made mine about an hour ago. It will sit in a cool room till Monday night, then I will warm it slightly and drift icing sugar over it and serve with vanilla ice cream. (Jue, John, Het, Andrea – this is Monday’s pudding!)