Sweet Lemon and Saffron Poached Pears

Serves 4

This is a recipe loosely adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem, from which I cook all the dishes I serve for Easter dinner. I increase the number of pears and double the poaching liquid so there is plenty left over for pear-and-blue-cheese salads and lemony mocktails.

6 medium Bosc pears

15 cardamom pods

1 bottle white wine

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 large pinches saffron

The zest of 2 lemons, removed in thin strips

Peel the pears, leaving the stalks intact. Cut off the very bottom of the pears so that they can stand up straight on a flat surface. Use a melon baller to remove the core from the bottom of the pears. Crush the cardamom pods.

 

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan with 3 cups of warm water, bring to a simmer, and gently poach the pears for about 2 hours or until tender. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight to steep.

 

Before serving, transfer 4 pears to wide soup bowls and set aside to bring to room temperature. Boil the saffron syrup until reduced by half, 12–15 minutes. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of syrup over each pear, then serve with a little heavy cream poured over the top of the pear. Store the leftover poached pears in the remaining syrup for up to a week. 

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