Saffron and Cardamom Poached Pears

Saffron Poached Pears

The phrase less is more applies to gently poached pears more than any other dessert. Something about their enriched hue, perfumed taste and sensual curves just says, “look at me, I’m a classy kinda sweet treat.”

Serve as a light, elegant dessert with whipped mascarpone or crème fraîche to end an autumnal meal. I always make a double batch as they’re great sliced up as a porridge topping, chopped and stirred into creamy rice pudding or as part of another dessert such as my crème fraîche panna cotta. 

Saffron Poached Pears

Saffron Poached Pears

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Course: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Serve as a light, simple dessert with whipped mascarpone or crème fraîche to end an autumnal meal.


  • 250 g soft brown sugar

  • 10 cardamom pods

  • 1/2 vanilla pod

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads

  • pinch sea salt

  • 4 firm pears, peeled, stems intact


  • Pour 1 litre of water into a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the brown sugar, cardamom, vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, saffron and sea salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves and reduce to a simmer.  
  • Gently add the peeled pears to the liquid, then allow them to simmer for around 30 minutes. They should be soft but  not completely mushy. 
  • When the pairs are ready, carefully remove them using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Increase the heat on the liquid until it reduces to a vicious syrup, this will take around 10-15 minutes. 
  • Serve pairs in a small pool of syrup with a dollop of mascarpone or crème fraîche with a little extra syrup on the side for pouring. 

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