Pistachio Panna Cottas with Lemon-Cardamom Poached Forelle Pears

1 cup pistachios

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cups heavy cream

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ teaspoons gelatin

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

6 Forelle pears, ripe but firm

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


Combine the pistachios and ¼ cup of the sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. With the motor running, add the cream. Transfer to a small saucepan, heat to a bare simmer, and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 


Measure ½ cup of the milk into a small bowl and slowly sprinkle over the gelatin. Stir the remaining 1 cup milk into the pistachio mixture. Heat to a bare simmer. Whisk in the gelatin mixture and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Chill over an ice bath until just beginning to thicken. Divide among 6 dessert cups. Refrigerate for about an hour, or until set.


Combine the remaining ¾ cup sugar, lemon zest, cardamom, and 1 ½ cups water in a small pot. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Peel the pears, cut them in half, and core them with a melon baller, leaving the stem end intact. Add the pears to the pot and drape them with a piece of cheesecloth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears to a plate and chill. Boil the poaching liquid another 12 to 14 minutes, or until thickened and slightly syrupy. Stir in the lemon juice and chill.


Divide the pears among the dessert cups, drizzle with the sauce, and serve immediately.


Serves 6. If Forelle pears are unavailable, use quartered Bosc or Bartlett pears. The cheesecloth will keep the pears completely submerged beneath the poaching liquid so that they cook evenly. Garnish with chopped pistachios if desired.