Stewed pears in orange and muscat syrup
40 minutes + poaching + roasting + sauce + reducing + making labne
This is a delicious winter treat that can be cooked a day or two before required left in the fridge and warmed up on the day or served at room temperature. It is worth the effort
8 Corella or Beurre bosc pears (6 for serving + 2 for garnish)
I bottle Moscato or Muscat dessert wine
[you can use a sweet white wine if you prefer]
1 stick cinnamon
3 cardamoms (bruised)
2 star anise
strip of orange or mandarin peel
1 tsp saffron threads [optional]
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
200 gms goats cheese
2 cups natural yoghurt
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
1/4 cup caster sugar
Use a vegetable peeler and peel 6 pears, use a melon baller to remove the cores, leave the stalks on [you can save the peel, and roast in a hot oven until crisp for a garnish]
Using a mandoline slicer finely slice the other two pears [leave the skin on] and roast in a hot 180º oven on a lined tray until pear slices are crisp, allow to cool and save in a airtight container.
Roughly chop the pistachio nuts, moisten with water, sprinkle sugar over the chopped nuts and place in a warm oven and toast until crisp. Keep aside
Place the pears and all the spices and the wine and orange peel in a pan, cover with a circle of baking paper and bring the the boil, and then lower heat and simmer for 30 – 40 mins until pears are just tender. Carefully remove pears and reduce the liquid down until thick and syrupy. If the liquid evaporates when cooking add some orange juice or water, the pears must be submerged to cook evenly.
Use a small sieve lined with a square of muslin place over a jug and strain the yoghurt mixed with the cinnamon powder, overnight in the fridge, it will firm up overnight, crumble the goats cheese and mix well with the semi firm labne.
To assemble, place a couple of spoonfuls of syrup on each plate, then a dollop of the labne/cheese and top with a poached pear, Sprinkle the pistachio praline crumb and garnish with a couple of slices of crisped pear and edible flowers.
Note: the pears can be warmed in the oven, a variation of this is to poach the pears in red wine with the addition of sugar and the spices. Grate some dark chocolate over the pears and serve with cream or yoghurt.