Soft Pan-Fried Pears with Cardamom & Szechuan Pepper

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Medium

    • Ready in

      45 min

Appears in

French Countryside Cooking

French Countryside Cooking

By Daniel Galmiche

Published 2021

  • About

Pear, the glorious pear! Soft, juicy, tasty, with a hint of summer petals. And yet pears are not used enough in home cooking. I donโ€™t know why! The season is September through to January and there are loads of varieties to choose from. In this recipe I have combined the pears with cardamom and Szechuan peppers, and they will gladly take them on to lift themselves to new heights. Yet the right quantity is critical as too much would overwhelm the subtlety of this delicate fruit. You can use the same quantity of syrup and adjust the number of pears according to the size and your guestsโ€™ appetites! This dessert goes really well with Pistachio Madeleines.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 200 g/7 oz/heaped ยพ cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • juice of ยผ lime
  • 4 large or 8 small, firm pears, such as William, Rocha or Comice, peeled with the stalks left on
  • 25 g/1 oz unsalted butter

Method

  1. Put the Szechuan peppercorns in a small, dry frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and toast for 1โ€“2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until just coloured and aromatic. Tip onto a plate and crush lightly with the flat blade of a knife.
  2. Bring the sugar, half the cardamom, the lime juice and 800 ml/28 fl oz/scant 3ยฝ cups of water to the boil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally for about 5โ€“8 minutes until the sugar dissolves and starts to turn syrupy.
  3. Add the pears to the pan with the syrup. You need to cover the pears with a cartouche. Turn the heat down to very low and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the pears have softened very slightly. To check the pears, insert the tip of a knife into the thickest part โ€“ there should still be a little resistance. Put the pears on a clean dish towel to drain. Return the pan to the heat and simmer for 8โ€“10 minutes until the syrup has reduced by about three-quarters.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the pears and the remaining cardamom and cook for 3โ€“4 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are slightly golden all over.
  5. Add 4 tablespoons of the reduced syrup to the pan and cook the pears for 4โ€“5 minutes, basting them occasionally with the syrup, until tender but not mushy. Baste the pears again with the syrup and add the crushed Szechuan pepper. Serve the pears with the syrup poured over the top and any remaining syrup served separately.

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