Pears Poached in a Saffron Syrup

Most exotic of all the fruit compotes, pears cooked this way turn a wonderful deep golden colour and are delicately infused with the flavours of saffron and cardamom - two of the world’s most precious spices. We use Conference and Doyenne de Comice pears. This compote is rich and intensely sweet best served well chilled. (Be careful not to use too much saffron or the pears will be too strong). The juice is delicious so serve lots with the pears. If there is some left over, set with gelatine to make a delicious pear and saffron jellies. Use 3 tsp gelatine to 600ml juice.
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Fruit
Servings: 4


  • 200 g sugar
  • 450 ml water
  • 6 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 45 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 firm pears


  • Put the sugar, water, lightly crushed cardamom pods, saffron and lemon juice into a shallow, wide pan.
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile peel the pears, half and core them. As you cut them put then into the simmering syrup cut side uppermost.
  • Cover with a paper lid and the lid of the pan, cook gently for 20-30 minutes, spooning the syrup over them every now and then.
  • Carefully take the pears out and arrange them in a serving dish in a single layer, cut side downwards.
  • Pour the syrup over the pears or reduce first. For a most concentrated flavour the syrup may be reduced a little after the pears have been removed to a serving dish. Be careful not to cook it for too long, or the syrup will caramelize.
  • Serve chilled with some of the juice.
  • This compote keeps for several weeks covered in the fridge.