Pear tarte tatin
If you have an ovenproof frying pan (or one with a removable handle), you can use it both to caramelise the pears and to cook the tart, though a heavy, fixed-bottomed baking tin will do. Makes a 20cm tart.
1 packet ready-roll all-butter puff pastry
4-5 pears, ripe but still firm
80g unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Roll out the pastry and, using a plate as a template, cut out a disc around 23cm in diameter (or 1cm larger than your pan or tin). Prick a few times with a fork, and refrigerate.
Peel, halve and core the pears, then cut into thick wedges or fat chunks. Melt the butter with the sugar in a deep, heavy-based frying pan (of about 22cm in diameter, if you are using an ovenproof pan in which to bake the tart). Add the lemon juice and pears, and cook on medium-high heat, turning the pears from time to time and taking care not to break them. Cook until golden and tender, and the caramel is reduced to a thick sauce that just coats the fruit, about 20-25 minutes.
Arrange the pears cut-side up in the pan (or baking tin or tarte tatin dish, in which case scrape in all the caramel, too), cramming them together, and set aside until cool.
Drape the pastry over the pears, tuck it in around the sides of the pan to enclose the fruit, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool for five minutes, run a knife around the sides and carefully invert the tart on to a plate. Let it stand for five minutes more, then serve on its own, or with cream, clotted cream or ice-cream.