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PEARS POACHED IN A SAFFRON SYRUP

1 cup sugar
6 whole cardamom pods
1/4 tsp saffron threads
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 firm pears

Combine sugar, 2 cups water, cardamom pods, saffron and lemon juice
and put in a shallow but wide pot. Bring to a simmer and cook gently
until sugar melts. Peel the pears, halve them and core them. As
you cut them, put them into the simmering syrup. Cover and cook
gently for 25 minutes. Every now and then turn them gently, or
spoon syrup over them.Carefully take the pears out of the liquid
and arrange them in a serving dish in a single layer, cut side
down. Cook the syrup down until it is reduced to about 1 cup. Pour
this over the pears, cool, then serve with a dollop of ice cream
if desired. Serves 4-8.

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