Fenugreek poached pears with dessert dukka

20 April 2017 by
First published: 25 December 2016

These fenugreek poached pears with dessert dukka are sublime. The toasty maple characteristics of the fenugreek swirl on the tongue, but be mindful not to overtoast or you may have to start again.

Ingredients (serves 4)

350g sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

½ cinnamon stick, toasted

2 allspice berries, toasted

½ tsp fenugreek seeds, toasted

3 fenugreek leaves

4 pears such as Bosc or Concorde, with stems

60ml dessert wine, (Sauterne, Botrytis Semillon or Riesling)

2 strips lemon peel

Dessert dukka (see below)

Labneh, to serve

Softly whipped cream, to serve (optional)


Put the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice berries and fenugreek seeds into a 2L heavy metal pan and add 120ml of water. Bring to a simmer on medium–high heat, gently swirling the liquid occasionally, and reduce until syrupy and amber in colour.

Carefully add a further 350ml of water (be careful as it will bubble up). Stir to dissolve the caramel, then add the fenugreek leaves, pears, wine and lemon peel.

Place a piece of damp muslin (cheesecloth) or a circle of parchment paper with a small cut in the middle over the pears inside the pot to keep them gently submerged.

Poach until tender but still firm, about 18 minutes.

Remove the pears from the liquid, then chill the poaching caramel in an ice bath. Return the pears to the liquid caramel and cover and chill until needed.

Make the dessert dukka (see below)

To serve, arrange one heaped tablespoon of dukka on each of four plates.

Using a sharp knife, level the bottom of the pears so they stand flat.

Arrange each pear in the middle of the dukka and serve with the pear-poaching caramel sauce and labneh or softly whipped cream if wished.

Dessert dukka

Ingredients (makes 140g)

1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds

½ cinnamon stick, broken into chips

1 tbsp flax seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp caraway seeds

25g pecans, toasted and cooled

30g sliced almonds, toasted and cooled

40g pumpkin seeds, toasted and cooled

2 tsp date or raw sugar

1 tsp salt flakes

¾ tsp vanilla powder (optional)


In a small pan over low heat, toast the fenugreek seeds very lightly for just a few minutes and remove to the spice grinder to cool.

Turn the temperature to medium then toast the cinnamon chips. Cool and finely grind together and transfer to a small bowl.

Toast the flax, coriander, cumin and caraway seeds together over medium heat until you can smell the spices. Cool then grind finely.

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds together until roughly ground. Add to the small bowl with the spices, sugar, salt and vanilla powder (if using) and mix well.

Stored tightly covered in a cool place, the dukka will keep for up to three weeks, or freeze it for up to two months.

Recipe courtesy of ‘Spice Health Heroes: Unlock the power of spice for flavour and wellbeing’ by Natasha MacAller

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Fenugreek poached pears with dessert dukka
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