Mānuka honey and pear make a stunning combination, and along with the scent of rosemary and lemon rind create a truly beautiful flavour. The pears themselves look stunning, especially with the syrup drizzled over – so elegant, in fact, that you may think you’re dining at a fancy restaurant.
6 pears, not too ripe
¼ cup mānuka honey
¼ cup other honey of choice
4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
4 large strips lemon rind
4 cups water, or enough to partially submerge all pears
Natural yoghurt, mascarpone, crème fraîche or vanilla
Ice cream, to serve
1. Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact, and core them from the bottom, if you don’t mind fiddling. Otherwise just leave the core in.
2. Place honeys, rosemary, lemon rind and water in a saucepan large enough to fit all of the pears, and stir to combine. Add pears (it doesn’t matter if they are upright or on their sides) and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for around 30 minutes until pears are tender. Swirl the pot around a couple of times during cooking to ensure even coverage.
4. Carefully remove pears from the syrup and set aside. Boil the syrup for a further 5-10 minutes until reduced and thicker.
5. Strain syrup through a sieve to remove rosemary and lemon peel, if preferred. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pears if you want to serve them upright.
6. Serve with yoghurt, mascarpone, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream, and an extra drizzle of poaching syrup. Also beautiful served with rice pudding.
Instead of rosemary, try one of the following:
• 3-4 star anise and 1 cinnamon stick
• 6 cardamom pods, slit with a knife, and 1 cinnamon stick; omit lemon peel
• Orange zest and 1 vanilla pod; omit lemon peel