After seeing a honey and rosemary cake over on Cottage Grove House, I started to crave those flavours, and the idea to infuse them into poached pears popped into my head whilst tidying the kitchen and seeing the fruit sitting on the side. These two pears beckoned me over, and told me in no uncertain terms that they know that they’d definitely fulfil their life’s purpose by being eaten as a snack, but they would much rather prefer to go out in an explosion of glamour and glory. This was where I could come in, they said, by drenching them in honey and wine, perfuming them with vanilla, rosemary and a whisper of citrus zest, and then giving them as their escort for the night a luxurious ice cream. Well, who was I to deny them their final wish, especially when it promised to be such a tasty one.

These pears obviously know their stuff. Rosemary with baked pears, rosemary with pear crumbles and pear pies – these were probably all my first attempts at using a herb in sweet cooking, and I got a bit addicted to this particular match. The vanilla alongside the rosemary in the poaching liquid makes sure that the pears stay fragrantly sweet – without it I think there’s potential for a little bitterness to creep through. Rosemary flowers taste like – you guessed it – rosemary – but they have a delicate sweetness, which works really well with the saffron in the ice cream (a variation on a saffron and rosewater ice cream I posted back in September), and also makes them a pretty and tasty garnish. Finally, leaving the pears to steep in the amber liquid for 24 hours or so really does make a difference to their flavour, and ensures not just that the pears taste of the syrup, but also that the syrup tastes of pears, which I think is pretty nice…





For the poached pears:


2 pears (I used yellow Williams)

150ml white wine

150ml water

Juice and zest of half a lemon

Zest of half an orange

80g (tasty) honey

20g Demerara sugar

4 large sprigs rosemary

Half a vanilla pod, split (the other half can be used in the ice cream)

A few rosemary flowers, to serve



For the saffron & rosemary flower ice cream:


300ml double cream

4 large eggs, seperated

50g golden caster sugar

40g honey

2 generous pinches saffron

2 heaped tbsp. rosemary flowers

1/2 vanilla pod





For the pears:


Put all of the ingredients, bar the pears, into a small saucepan, and slowly heat until the sugar and honey has dissoloved.  Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact.  Take a slice from their bases so that they stand up on a plate, then lay them both on their sides in the saucepan.  Bring the liquid just to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Put a lid on the pan, leaving a gap, and poach gently for about thirty minutes, until perfectly soft (you want them to melt in the mouth, but not be mushy.)

Remove the pears from the pan, and stand them up in a small bowl.  If you like, reduce the liquid down to make it more syrupy (I kept it as it was.)  Pour over the pears (leaving in the rosemary and vanilla pod), cover, and put in the fridge for a about a day (or a few hours, at least.)


For the saffron & rosemary flower ice cream:


Bruise the saffron with a pestle and mortar.

You need three bowls: put the cream and honey into a large bowl, then scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod over.  Then put the egg yolks, saffron, rosemary flowers and sugar into a medium sized bowl, and the egg whites into a large bowl.  You then need to follow three steps in this order:

Using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the egg whites for 1 minute on a medium speed, then on high, until stiff.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy.

Whisk the cream mixture until thickened.  You need it to be able to hold soft peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl, but don’t whisk it beyond this point.

Next, pour the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the bowl with the thickened cream, and gently fold together using a rubber spatula.   Finally, gently fold the egg whites in, making sure that you thoroughly mix it through, but do it carefully!

Pour the mixture into a Tupperware container, and cover lightly with cling film.  It will need to freeze for about eight hours.  Once set, pop the lid on.


When ready to eat – remove the pears from the fridge about an hour before serving, and the ice cream about five minutes before.  Strain the poaching liquid, discarding the herbs.  Serve with a generous scoop of ice cream and sprinkled with rosemary flowers.




  1. This ice cream is like pure gold. Rosemary and saffron? Omg. I am making this asap. A little honey and vanilla? This is seriously a big deal. Thank you for indulging this recipe and inspiring me! Wow.

    1. Thanks! And you’re very welcome. This ice cream is really special. My lovely lady has been dropping hints that I make some for a few weeks, and I must admit we’re both glad to have this sitting in the freezer now. And it’s so simple to make – no churning or ice cream maker needed. Just need to follow the stages exactly, so that the egg whites don’t become tainted. Enjoy, I think you’ll love it!

  2. Wonderful combination! Love the idea of poached pears with rosemary flowers and saffron. Did you use the flowers for a subtler rosemary flavour?

    1. Exactly, I wanted it subtler and sweeter for the ice cream, didn’t want it to overwhelm. But using the sprigs in the poaching syrup was perfect. I also ate some rosemary flowers over my yoghurt with nuts and the slightest drizzle of honey the other morning, very nice!

  3. Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. Just the other day I thought about poaching pears and here it is, a wonderful recipe to do so! Thank you for the mention and so glad you were inspired with the idea of rosemary with sweets because it led you to this unique and elegant dessert…

  4. Love this recipe. Fruit and ice creams pairs so beautifully together!

  5. Wonderful combination of spices and flavors!

  6. […] White Wine, Honey & Rosemary Poached Pears With Saffron & Rosemary Flower Ice Cream […]

  7. […] Delicious served with saffron and rosemary ice cream! […]

  8. I love rosemary and saffron together – it is one of my favourite combinations and I am intrigued and delighted to hear that it works on puds as well!

  9. Karinna, I’ve just found your recipe and feel in heaven just thinking about it! Could you please tell me the quantity of ice cream that this recipe makes? It’s summer now, where I live, and I think this dessert is going to be a beautiful addition to our festive/holiday season. Thank you!!

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