Saffron Poached Pears with Spun Sugar
Poached Pears Infused With High Quality SaffronPoached pears are one of those desserts that can best be described as a “secret weapon”. They look impressive and yet are quite simple to execute. Like, boiling water simple.
Even better? They can be made in advance, scaled up or down, and require no special tools, skills or equipment.
For this recipe, the pears have been poached in a saffron-riesling syrup, which results in a glorious, deep golden hue. They can be served simply with the reduced poaching liquid or take it to the next level with a bit of gold leaf applied and a spun sugar cage.
Saffron Poached Pears with Sugar Cage and Gold Leaf Garnish
1 cup Riesling wine
1/2 cup + 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 vanilla bean
4 firm, yet ripe, Bosc pears (with stems)
1 sheet 24 karat loose leaf edible gold
Make the poached pears:
Place the wine, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and saffron in a pot or pan large enough to hold the pears in one layer on their sides. Halve the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pot. Peel a 2” strip from the lemon and place it – along with juice from half the fruit – into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
While the poaching liquid is cooking, peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the cores from the bottoms.
Place the pears on their sides in the pot and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered, turning frequently, till the pears are still firm but can be easily pierced in their thickest parts with the tip of a knife. Remove pot from heat and let cool. If making in advance, cover and refrigerate.
Make the sugar cages:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby.
Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small pot. Cook, without stirring, on medium-high heat until light golden in color. If the mixture begins to color unevenly gently swirl the pot – do not stir, as this can cause crystallization to occur.
Place the pot in the ice water for a few seconds to stop the cooking. Dip the tines of a fork into the sugar and drizzle circles onto your prepared baking sheet.
To serve your saffron poached pears:Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and place on individual plates or small shallow bowls. Place bits of gold leaf all around the pears. Boil the poaching liquid till thickened (it should be the consistency of maple syrup); pour around the bottoms of the pears.
Carefully remove the sugar cages from your baking sheet and place over each pear. Serve immediately.
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