This is a perfumed, unique take on poached pears. A few notes: (1) It is worth it to get saffron for this recipe; it adds a depth and complexity to the flavor. (2) If I want more sauce, I tweak this recipe by dumping in more wine and adding a bit more sugar and cardamom. (3) The sauce is excellent over yogurt. Adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi.
- 2 T cardamom pods
- 1 c dry white wine
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1.5 T fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 t teaspoon saffron threads
- Pinch of salt
- 4 firm pears (bosc is good), peeled
- crème fraîche for garnish
- Gently crush cardamom with a rolling pin or wooden spoon to slightly crack open pods without releasing seeds.
- Core the pears:
- Combine cardamom, wine, sugar, lemon juice, saffron, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high, stirring until sugar dissolves, until the mixture is simmering.
- Add pears, then cover with enough water or wine to submerge them. (Note: using a smaller pan will require less liquid.)
- Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar to let out steam, then simmer for about 25-30 minutes, turning the pears half way. (Note: if your pears are softer, the cooking time will be less.)
- When the pears are cooked but not mushy, transfer them to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Heat remaining liquid to a boil and reduce to 1 cup, cooking for about 10-15 minutes.
- Serve by spooning syrup over pears and placing a dollop of crème fraîche on top.