Cheap, quick and easy to prepare, these delicious spiced pears are the perfect dessert option if you are watching what you eat.
- 4 just-ripe pears
- For the syrup:
- 200g (7oz) light muscovado sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves, optional
- 3-4 pieces of star anise
To make the syrup: Put all the ingredients into a pan that will be just big enough to hold the pears. Add 600ml (1 pint) water. Put over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil.
Peel the pears, but don’t core them. Stand them up in the pan of just boiling syrup and cover with a piece of crumpled, damp greaseproof paper, to stop the pears bobbing up. Or put a saucer that fits inside the pan, on top of them.
Simmer very gently for about 20 mins, then test whether the pears are tender by inserting a skewer and seeing if it goes in easily. Carefully take out the pears with a draining spoon and put them in a dish. Take out the cinnamon stick.
Bring the syrup to the boil for about 20 mins until reduced and really syrupy — almost to a caramel consistency. Pour, or spoon, over the pears, which can be served warm or cold. The syrup is sweet/sharp, like a spicy marmalade sauce. Serve with cream or ice cream, if you like.
Top tip for making Star-spiced pears
If the pears are left in the syrup overnight, the syrup will become more runny.