Process flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add water and pulse until dough begins to come together into a ball. Scoop mixture into a plastic freezer bag and gently press into a smooth disc. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Melt extra butter in a heavy based, ovenproof, 22cm frypan. Stir in vanilla seeds and strips of pod then sprinkle the sugar evenly over mixture. Arrange pears (cut side up) tightly in frypan. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes shaking the pan occasionally, until sugar mixture is golden in colour. Cool for 30 minutes in pan.
Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper to a 4mm thickness. Cut a 25cm circle of pastry and place on top of the fruit, tucking pastry edges in around the edges of the fruit.
Bake at 190°C for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Stand for 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and serve warm with ice cream.
- Use firm pears as soft will render excess liquid during the cooking process.
Ensure pastry is well tucked in around the fruit, to create a 'lip' for the fruit and accompanying caramel sauce.
Use a serving plate with a 'lip' to capture any caramel sauce.