Vanilla Poached Pears and Fig Compote

, from Issue #41. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Vanilla Poached Pears and Fig Compote

Serves: 4–6


200 grams dried figs
2 tablespoons caster sugar
50 ml clear honey
½ vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water

3 firm but ripe pears, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
zest and juice 1 lemon
200 ml water


Figs: Trim the stems from the figs and cut them in half. Put the sugar, honey, vanilla, spices and water in a saucepan. Use a little more water if your figs are very dry. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce to a simmer then add the figs and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes or until soft. Leave to cool in the liquid.

Pears: Cut each pear half into 4 pieces lengthwise and place in a saucepan. Add the lemon zest, juice and water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the fig compote to the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the pears are tender but still holding their shape. Serve warm or cooled with vanilla ice cream. 

Cook’s tip: The figs can be poached up to 10 days in advance.