Maggie Beer

Saffron Roasted Pears with Verjuice Panna Cotta

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Step 1: To make the Verjuice panna cotta, place the Verjuice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 12 to 14 minutes or until reduced to 100 mls. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Place the cream, milk and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat immediately.

Step 3: Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture and stir well, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes (should register 50°C on a sugar thermometer). Add the reduced Verjuice, stirring to mix well.

Step 4: Divide the mixture among 6 x 100 ml moulds. Transfer to a baking tray, cover well with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set (over night is best, if you have the time).

Step 5: To cook the pears, place the sugar, Verjuice, sherry, saffron, and water in a wide-based saucepan just large enough to accommodate the pears, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, add the chopped pear and peelings of the 6 pears and cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently boil for 20 minutes until it becomes syrupy without reducing the volume too much.

Step 6: Gently slip the whole pears into the syrup, then cover with a round of baking paper and the lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer. The ripeness of the pears will have a huge impact on this timing.

Step 7: Leave the pears to cool for 10 minutes in the syrup, then carefully transfer to a plate. Strain the syrup through a fine meshed sieve into a saucepan and discard the solids, then bring the syrup to the boil over a high heat and simmer until it has reduced by half.

Step 8: Transfer one cup of syrup to a small saucepan (reserving the remaining syrup for serving), then simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until reduced to a thick honey-like consistency.

Step 9: Preheat a fan forced oven to 220°C.

Step 10: When the pears are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways. Place the pears cut side up on a baking tray. Using a pastry brush, coat each pear with a little of the reduced syrup, then roast, brushing the pears with the reduced syrup every 10 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are a wonderful deep golden brown colour, taking care that they don’t burn.

Step 11: To turn out the panna cotta, use your fingertips to gently press around the edge to break the seal. Quickly invert each mould onto a serving plate and the panna cotta should drop out. Divide the saffron roasted pears amongst the plates, spoon over the reserved syrup, then serve.


Panna Cotta

  1. 400ml cream
  2. 125ml 1/2 cup milk
  3. 55g 1/4 cup caster sugar


  1. 375ml 1 1/2 cups Verjuice
  2. 180ml 3/4 cup medium dry sherry
  3. 375ml water
  4. 7 corella pear 6 peeled, cored and halved, 1 cut roughly, reserve peel
  5. 15ml 1 tbspn Verjuice To drizzle over peeled pears

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