6 medium pears, (I used Beurre Bosc)
2 tablespoons butter, very soft but not melted
caster sugar for sprinkling
1½ cups clear apple juice
4 long strips of orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise
good pinch of saffron threads
thick plain yoghurt
crumbled amaretti biscuits or other crisp biscuit
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Cut a thin slice off the base of each pear so it will sit flat while cooking.
Holding the pears by the stem, brush each one with butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Put the apple juice, orange zest, cinnamon stick, star anise and the saffron threads in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the pears but with a little space around each one. Place the pears in the dish and bake for 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a thin skewer and the skins are a little wrinkly. Cool for 10 minutes then carefully remove the pears to a plate along with the orange zest, cinnamon stick and star anise. Pour the syrup into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then cool. The syrup will thicken on cooling.
To serve: Spread a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt on each plate and top with a warm pear. If making the pears ahead, the butter in the syrup will solidify so rewarm just a little to serve.
Drizzle over a little saffron syrup and garnish with a piece of orange zest or star anise and scatter with the amaretti biscuits.