Monday, 3 December 2012

The jewels in the crown of my hood

Living in a multi-cultural neighbourhood means we're absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping for fresh produce: there are two fantastic Turkish and North African greengrocers at the top of our road - and two at the bottom. (I will write a feature about them all soon!) I'm also a big fan of the local Turkish supermarkets, and last week I struck pure gold at : 0.5g of saffron threads for only €3.85!! (And they came in the most beautiful little box...)

So I thought they would surely do justice for a stunning - yet so easy - dessert made for dear friends:

Saffron-poached pears...

4 - 6 firm pears, peeled
75g sugar
2 tbs honey
juice of 1 medium orange
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
half a cinnamom stick
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out (or 1 tsp of vanilla essence)
a good pinch of saffron strands

Put everything apart from the pears into a big-enough pan with 300 ml of water and bring to a simmer. Give it all a good whisk and add the pears, then cover and simmer for ca 30 mins until tender (turn them over a few times to get an even colour). Transfer to a bowl and reduce the poaching liquid until syrupy. Pour over pears and chill until ready to serve.

  ...with ginger ice cream

600 ml double cream
300 ml full-fat milk
5 large egg yolks
100 g caster sugar
2 stem ginger balls in syrup, finely chopped
1 tbs stem ginger syrup
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Heat the milk and cream until almost boiling. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick. Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking, then return to the pan. Put on a low heat, whisking continously until the cream has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the ginger. Pour into a shallow dish and leave to cool. Freeze for an hour. Stir the mixture with a fork to break up any ice crystals. Repeat twice more.

I use my electric whisk to make the ice cream custard - it works every time and never gets lumpy this way!

You can - of course - use an ice cream maker. (I do...)

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