25 g (1 oz) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
300 g (10 oz) chilled puff pastry
flour, for dusting
2 ripe but firm pears, peeled and cored
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
75 g (3 oz) Stilton
25 g (1 oz) walnut pieces
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
maple syrup (optional)
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a 12 cm (5 inch) saucer as a template, cut out 4 circles and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Brush the circles with the melted butter and, using the tip of a sharp knife and a slightly smaller saucer, score a 1 cm (½ inch) border around the edge of each one. Bake in a preheated oven, 200˚C (400˚F), Gas Mark 6, for about 8 minutes, until pale golden in colour.
Meanwhile, combine the cloves, allspice and pepper in a bowl.
Remove the pastries from the oven and arrange the pear slices on them, keeping within the border. Dust lightly with the spices, then crumble over the Stilton and sprinkle with the walnuts and thyme leaves. Dot with the chilli, if using.
Return the pastries to the oven for a further 8–10 minutes, until crisp and golden. Serve with a handful of watercress leaves and drizzled with a little maple syrup, if desired.