Watch How to Cook Well with Rory O'Connell Mondays at 7.30pm on RTÉ One.


  • 4 pears
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (optional)
  • 70g caster sugar


  1. Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler and half each one neatly from top to bottom to attain 8 halves. Remove the cores and any tough fibres - I use a melon-baller for this exercise, though a sharp teaspoon also works.
  2. Place the pears into a heavy saucepan into which they fit quite snugly. Peel 4 thin strips off the lemon and add to the pears along with all of the juice from the lemon.
  3. Sprinkle on the caster sugar and the lightly crushed cardamom pods if using. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and a tight fitting lid and cook over a very low heat until the pears are tender.
  4. This takes about 30 minutes but the time will vary according to the ripeness of the pears used. Allow the cooked pears to cool completely. These pears can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated.