Sunday, 17 February 2013

Pears Poached in a Saffron Syrup

These pears were scented with cardamom seeds and saffron and poached gently in a sugary syrup. I used a Madhur Jaffrey recipe ( in her Cookbook : Food for Family and Friends) who first made them with the purest saffron from Kashmir.

As she put it:
"They turn a rich golden colour and are suffused with the heady aromas of both saffron and cardamom, amongt the most prized spices in the world."

It's not an Indian recipe really, although it uses Indian spices. I wonder if she was inspired by a traditional European recipe of pears poached in red wine.

Halfway through the cooking I realised that my cardamom pods were not releasing sufficient flavour.  I bought them from our local Indian supermarket a long time ago when they had a strong aroma. I remember their smell as I ladled them into a bag. But it had faded.  I threw in a few more pods.

The pinch of Masterfoods saffron threads stored in a tiny box did not colour the pears as much as I had hoped. But once the syrup had been reduced it had turned a warm caramel colour.

It was a nice dessert but the flavour was not as intense as I had hoped it would be. Next time I make it I'll be sure to stock up on some fresher cardamom pods.

And I would be tempted to serve it with some whipped cream sprinkled with finely chopped pistachio nuts.


1 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
6 whole cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon good quality saffron  (the kind that comes in little saffron coloured threads threads)
3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
4 firm pears

Combine the sugar , 2 cups of water, cardamom pods, saffron and lemon juice and cook gently until the sugar melts. Peel the pears, halve them and core them. Put them in the simmering syrup. Cover and cook gently for 25 minutes. Every now and then , turn them and spoon syrup over them.
Take them out carefully with a slotted spoon and arrange them in a serving dish.
Keep cooking the syrup until it has reduced to 1 cup. Pour this over the pears and cool.


The theme of this week's I Heart Cookign Blog was Out of India . For more inspiration take a look at what others have posted on:

As I went back to read some of these recipes I noticed that Deb from Hawaii had already posted this recipe in Madjur Jaffrey's Sweet Endings Challenge. Sorry Deb, I didn't mean to double dip.


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