Saffron poached pears
The small Honey Belle pears are ideal for poaching and serving as a stylish little dessert that is easy to execute. I thought I’d use saffron threads in the poaching liquid to give them a pretty golden colour and a delicate saffron flavour and also add a warm tone to the sauce.
You can poach the pears whole or cut in half. They cook quickly so be careful not to over cook them.
Last time I made this I made spun sugar as a garnish. Today I simply served them with the sauce reduction and a few chopped candied hazelnut for added texture.
12 Honey Belle pears
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 vanilla bean (you can use one that has dried whole or scrape the seeds off a fresh one)
Rind from 1/2 a lemon peeled with vegetable peeler
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 cups water
1/2 cup dessert wine
Peel the pears keeping the stems intact. Keep them whole or halve them.
Place all the poaching ingredients and the pears in a pot large enough to hold the pears and bring to a slow boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until the pears are cooked through. Insert a thin sharp knife into the thick part of the pears to test if they are done.
When done remove the pears with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside.
Increase heat slightly under the poaching liquid and cook until reduce to a light syrupy consistency.
Add the wine and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place pears in desert bowls, spoon the sauce over and scatter a few candied nuts around.
Serve at room temperature.