Ethné de Vienne’s Poached Pears with Mastic, Saffron and Mandarin Oranges

  • Preparation 25 MIN
    Cooking 30 MIN
    Chilling 2 H
  • Servings 6



  1. In a mortar and pestle, grind the mastic with 2 tbsp of the sugar.
  2. In a large pot, combine the water, ground mastic, remaining sugar, saffron, piece of zest and juice from 1 mandarin orange. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Using a large spoon, gently place the pear halves, rounded-side down, into the hot syrup. Cover with a layer of paper towels and simmer gently until the pears are tender, about 15 minutes, depending on their ripeness. Remove from the heat. Transfer the pears and syrup into a large bowl. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. The pears will keep for 1 week. When ready to serve, drain the pears and set the syrup aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and honey.
  5. Divide the sour cream mixture among six small bowls. Place 2 pear halves in each bowl. Pour the reserved syrup over the pears. Garnish with pieces of sesame snap and mandarin supremes.


Mastic is a resin that is obtained from a tree, and is produced mainly on the Greek island of Chios. It has a delicate, pine tree taste. The small, white mastic nuggets are found in specialty grocery stores, but it can easily be omitted from this dish.

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