Orange Flower Scented Poached Pears are sophisticated treat for anyone on a bland diet, and equally a treat for those who are not. They taste almost perfumed. The aroma while they are cooking is... out of this world! This easy dish offers a great alternative to poaching pears in wine and is delicious eaten chilled or at room temperature. If you can’t find orange flower water, just substitute plain water or apple juice. The taste won’t be the same but the pears will still be delicious!
Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthways. Scoop out the cores with a teaspoon. Make sure you cut away the hard remains of the flower at the bottom of the pear. Arrange the pears in a circle inside the pan, cut sides down, thin ends towards the center.
Pour over the pears:- all the honey, 1/2 the sugar, all the water and the orange flower water. Scatter the strips of orange zest over the pears. Put the pan over a medium high heat until the liquid starts to boil. Turn the heat down to low. Cover the pan and poach at a low simmer until the pears are tender, about 1/2 hour. Baste the pears with the syrup from time to time. About halfway through the cooking, check the liquid for sweetness and add more of the remaining sugar if desired and a little more water too if the pears look dry. Note: the syrup should be light, not thick and sticky.
When the pears are just tender, turn the heat off, and leaving the lid on, let the pears cool in the pan. They will continue cooking and give out more of their juices as they steam. Arrange the pears on a serving dish cut side up. Serve chilled or at room temperature with the syrup and zest spooned over the fruit, and with Greek yogurt on the side.
In step 3, about halfway through cooking I sometimes flip the pears over for even cooking.