Poached pears in chilli syrup

Autumnal pears are given an Asian twist with chillies and auburn-hued saffron in Roopa Gulati's recipe
By Roopa Gulati
Poached pears in chilli syrup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus steeping
  • Effort: easy



  • 4 pears, Conference
  • 1 pinches strands saffron
  • 3 tbsp water, warm


  • 150 ml water
  • 75 ml ginger wine
  • 100 g sugar
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled
  • 2 red chillies, split, seeds removed


  • 3 red chillies, split and seeds removed
  • 150 ml poaching liquid, from the pears
  • 125 ml whipped cream, or dollops of mascarpone, to serve


1. Soak the saffron strands in warm water for an hour or so until the liquid turns a deep orange colour. Set aside while you make the chilli syrup. 2. For the syrup, pour the water and wine into a medium sauce pan and add the sugar. Dissolve the sugar over a moderate heat before adding the ginger and split red chillies. Simmer the syrup for about five minutes before adding the pears to the pan. 3. Place a scrunched up piece of greaseproof paper over the pears, cover the pan and continue cooking for around 20 minutes. The pears should now be tender but still hold their shape. Ladle off about 150ml of the syrup in a separate pan for the chilli strips. 4. Swirl the saffron and its soaking liquid over the pears and into the remaining syrup. The syrup will turn a lovely deep orange colour. Leave the pears to steep for couple of hours before discarding the ginger and split chillies. 5. To make the chilli strip decoration - finely shred the chillies and drop them into boiling water for about 15 seconds before draining and patting dry. Add these strips to the reserved syrup and cook down until the syrup has thickened but hasn't yet coloured. Pour onto a lightly oiled tray to cool. 6. Reheat the pears in its syrup and serve warm, topped with the sweet chilli strips and accompanied with whipped cream or dollops of mascarpone.

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