Sep 15, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Saffron & Honey Poached Pears

Cassie Piuma's Saffron & Honey Poached Pears.

Saffron mixture, poached pears, hazelnut dukkah, dukkah phyllo crunch, tangerine curd and yogurt ice cream by Cassie Piuma, Chef/Partner of Sarma Restaurant in Somerville, MA.


Yield: 12-15 servings

Saffron Mixture:

  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 2 oz/59 g hot water

Combine saffron and hot water and set aside.

Poached Pears:

  • Saffron Mixture (above)
  • 12-15 Bartlett pears, peeled and quartered
  • 1.5 qt/1419 ml water
  • 23.7 oz/672 g honey
  • 7 oz/200 g granulated sugar
  • Juice and peel of 1 lemon

Add Saffron Mixture and remaining ingredients to large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep at a brisk simmer until pear pieces are soft enough to pierce with a knife. Remove pears from pot to cool in shallow container.  Bring syrup back to a brisk simmer and cook until reduced.

Hazelnut Dukkah:

(Note: The quantities here make more than you need in the Phyllo Crunch below. Save extra in container with tight fitting lid.)

  • 4 liq oz/118 ml whole cumin seeds 
  • 8 liq oz/236 ml whole coriander seeds
  • 1.6 oz/45 g unsweetened coconut
  • 8 liq oz/236 ml toasted sesame seeds
  • 3.7 oz/107 g finely ground hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Toast cumin and coriander, grind.

2. Toast coconut. Add sesame seeds, hazelnuts, salt and black pepper to the ground spice mix and coconut. Set aside.

Dukkah Phyllo Crunch:

  • 2 boxes of kataifi
  • 32 liq oz/944 ml panko bread crumbs
  • 1 lb/454 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 6.3 oz/179 g sweetened coconut
  • 7.5 oz/214 g ground blanched hazelnuts 
  • 4 liq oz/118 ml prepared dukkah

1. Cut kataifi block in half for ease of handling. Process in food processor into small pieces, using 8 oz/227 g at a time. Place ground kataifi into a large bowl with panko crumbs and toss to coat evenly. Toss thoroughly with melted butter. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake at 300°F until lightly toasted. Cool. 

2. Add coconut, hazelnuts and dukkah.

Tangerine Curd: 

  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 8 oz/227 g tangerine juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 10.5 oz/300 g granulated sugar 
  • Grated zest of 1 tangerine
  • 6 oz/170 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together egg yolks, tangerine juice, lemon juice, sugar and zest in stainless steel bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Immediately strain through fine mesh strainer. Stir in butter and salt. Cool in larger bowl of ice to stop cooking.

Yogurt Ice Cream: 

  • 1 qt/946 ml simple syrup (made from boiling equal parts of granulated sugar and water)
  • 2.5 oz/70 g glucose powder
  • 0.7 oz/20 g Cremodan or other ice cream stabilizer
  • 9.26 lb/4.2 kg yogurt
  • 4.6 lb/2.1 kg whole milk
  • 4 lb/1.8 kg skim milk
  • 10 oz/285 g milk powder
  • 1 generous tsp kosher salt

Bring simple syrup to 180°F and whisk in glucose powder and Cremodan. Combine with all other ingredients. Strain. Freeze.


Serve as desired. The restaurant serves the ice cream in a bowl and the condiment/toppings in separate Mason jars to allow for an interactive experience. If desired, provide a citrus fruit compote using tangerine segments, garnished with pomegranate seeds and mint.


Click here to read more about this and related recipes in the article "A Perfumed Journey."

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