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Egg of the Universe Egg of the Universe

Poached pears with kefir cream and activated seeds

Serves 4

Poached pears are a simple yet satisfying winter dessert. We tend to make larger batches, then store some in jars in the fridge as banked goodness for another lazier time.

Paired with the kefir cream and sweet and savoury activated seeds, it becomes a little more interesting and nourishing. You can substitute the kefir cream with yoghurt or soured cream, and the activated seeds for their raw or toasted counterparts, but this is the pure wholefoods version.

The sweet seeds of thyme take a day or two to prep but keep for ages. Use as a nibble, in lunchboxes or as a garnish in dishes both sweet and savoury. You can play around with different seeds but the below works as a good base.

4 firm pears (such as beurre Bosc), peeled
1 cup (200 g) rapadura sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
160 ml (2/3 cup) kefir cream

SWEET SEEDS OF THYME:
1 cup (155 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup (145 g) sunflower seeds
100 g (3 1/2 oz) golden (or brown) linseeds (flaxseeds)
100 g (3 1/2 oz) chia seeds
100 g (3 1/2 oz) hemp seeds
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
1/4 cup (90 g) raw honey
1 tablespoon sea salt

For sweet seeds of thyme, combine all seeds in a bowl, cover with plenty of filtered water and leave to soak for 8 hours to activate.

Drain well, then spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Preheat oven to 70°C (150°F), scatter seeds with thyme and bake, stirring halfway, for 8–10 hours until dried.

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt, mix to coat, then return to oven for 45 minutes to dry a little more. Sweet seeds will keep in an airtight container for 3 months.

Pour 4 cups (1 litre) water into a saucepan just large enough to fit the pears. Place pears in saucepan, then add sugar, orange and lemon zests and juices, cinnamon and star anise.

Place over medium heat, bring to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes or until a sharp knife can just pierce through to the centre of the fruit.

Remove pears with a slotted spoon and leave until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, increase heat to high and continue to simmer the cooking liquid until thickened and reduced by about a third.

Halve pears and place two pieces in four bowls on top of a dollop of kefir cream. Spoon over a couple of tablespoons of reduced cooking liquid and sprinkle with sweet seeds of thyme.