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Poached pears with mastic, saffron and mandarin

Poached pears wit mastic, saffron and mandarin

A recipe inspired by a trip to Chios – one of our favourite Greek islands. If you wish to bypass making the sesame crisps, feel free to use those found in convenience stores, such as sesame snaps.


  • 2 tsp mastic
  • ⅔ cups sugar
  • ½ tsp saffron
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 mandarins
  • 6 pears – not too ripe
  • ½ cup sour cream OR plain Greek yogourt
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Sesame crisps


  1. 1

    Place the mastic and 2 Tbsp sugar in a mortar and grind.

  2. 2

    Put water, ground mastic, remaining sugar and saffron into a pan.

  3. 3

    Squeeze the juice of the mandarin and add to the pan with a 1-inch x 1-inch sliver of mandarin peel. Heat on medium.

  4. 4

    Peel the pears and place them into the hot syrup. Place a paper towel on top and let froth until the pears are tender (15–30 minutes depending on their texture).

  5. 5

    Remove from the heat and let rest for at least a few hours or a few days, refrigerated.

  6. 6

    Mix the sour cream and honey in a small bowl.

  7. 7

    Set aside 6 bowls and garnish with a little sour cream on the bottom. Place one pear on top of each bowl. Delicately pour pear syrup into each bowl. Garnish with a sesame crisp and a mandarin section, or simply garnish with chopped pistachios.

Sesame crisps

  1. 1

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat a small pan on medium-high. Add the sesame seeds and roast, stirring constantly with a spatula until golden (3 to 4 minutes). Add the sugar and mix well (the sugar should begin to melt immediately). Pour in the honey and continue mixing for 30 seconds to incorporate.

  2. 2

    Pour on to a baking sheet and spread well. Flatten using a spatula to make and even layer. Let cool for 15 minutes. Break into pieces and keep in a jar if you don’t use immediately (or if you don’t eat the leftovers!).