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+ servings

Poached pears in white wine and cardamom (Ottolenghi)

A light, easy to make and beautiful poached pears with white wine and oriental spices from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 500 ml (2 cups) dry white wine
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • 150 g (3/4 cups) caster sugar
  • 15 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 firm pears peeled
  • crème fraîche to serve - optional


  1. Gently crush cardamom with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet to slightly crack open pods without releasing seeds. 

  2. Combine cardamom, wine, sugar, lemon juice, saffron, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer. Add pears; add water if needed to completely submerge pears. 

  3. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender but not mushy, about 15-30 minutes, depending on your pears. Check that the pears are ready by inserting a knife into the flesh - it should go in smoothly.

  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears into four serving bowls. Increase heat and boil poaching liquid until reduced to by about two thirds or until thick and syrupy. Pour over the pears and leave to cool down.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature, with optionally crème fraîche on the side or spooned on top.