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  • good pinch good-quality saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 cups (750 ml) strained fresh
  • orange juice
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 2 cups (440g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 2 star anise
  • 8 firm ripe beurre bosc or corella
  • pears, stems still attached, if possible
  • extra water (optional)

Poached pears with saffron

  • Serving size: Serves 8
  • Cooking time: More than 1 hour

Soak the saffron in the water for 30 minutes.

Make the poaching liquid by combining the orange juice, water and sugar in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla bean, star anise and saffron mixture.

Peel and core the pears. Add the pears to the poaching liquid. Add a little extra water just to cover them if necessary. Bring to a simmer and then poach gently over a low heat, about 30 minutes, turning occasionally to colour evenly, until very tender but not falling apart – the time will vary depending on the ripeness of the fruit.

Remove from heat. Leave the pears in the syrup, turning occasionally so they colour evenly, until ready to eat. Serve with lemon mascarpone.

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