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    Honey Saffron Pears with Labna and Almonds

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    Honey Saffron Pears with Labna and Almonds

    Labna is a sharp-tasting yogurt cheese that balances with the sweetness of honey syrup and the mellowness of saffron pears. This is a deceptively simple dish, but does need some time to be left to its own devices (think two days ahead of when you want it). If you want to serve the pears tonight, though, you can use Waitrose Soft Cheese beaten with a little salt and lemon juice, instead of the Labna. To ensure your pears look completely smooth after peeling, rub them all over with a clean tea towel.

    Serves: 4


    • ½tsp salt
    • 500g tub Waitrose Plain Yogurt
    • 4 even-size conference pears, peeled
    • Good pinch of saffron threads
    • 4tbsp Waitrose Greek Honey
    • 4tbsp caster sugar
    • 1 strip of orange peel
    • Juice of ½ lemon, plus 1 strip of peel
    • 3tbsp whole blanched almonds


    1. Mix together the salt and yogurt and pour into a muslin or clean tea towel-lined sieve set over a bowl. Bring together the muslin corners and tie in the middle with string. Leave in a cool place to drain for 24 hours for a very soft cheese.
    2. Put the pears in a snug-fitting pan with enough water to cover. Add the saffron, honey, caster sugar, orange and lemon peel and the lemon juice, and bring to the boil.
    3. Reduce the heat and gently poach the pears in the saffron syrup for about 25 minutes until just cooked - they should feel just firm in the centre when pierced with a sharp knife. Leave the pears to cool in the syrup, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
    4. Place the syrup over a high heat, bring to a rapid boil and reduce until thickened sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon.
    5. Lightly toast the almonds in a dry frying pan. Cool, then finely sliver lengthways. Remove the Labna from its cloth, break into walnut-sized pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the almonds. Serve with the pears and the syrup spooned over. If serving the yogurt cheese soft (after 24 hours), spoon into bowls, sit a pear on top, pour the syrup over and sprinkle with the almonds.

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