Gently melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or frying pan, and cook the pears in it for 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle with half the sugar and continue to cook gently, stirring from time to time, until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat, and boil until the sugar just begins to caramelize. Pour in the cream immediately, and stir to blend to a pale caramel sauce. Spoon some of the pears and most of the liquid into the bottom of a greased 2½ pt / 1.45 l pudding basin. Sift the dry ingredients together, stirring in the remaining sugar, then the suet and enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency. Layer this dough and the remaining fruit and caramel syrup in the basin, finishing with a layer of dough. Cover with a piece of pleated greaseproof paper, tie down and cook in a steamer or in a pan of simmering water that comes halfway up the sides of the pudding basin for 2½-3 hours, adding more boiling water to the pan as necessary. Leave it for 3–4 minutes before turning out and serving.