Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact. Crush the cardamom pods.
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan with 1 litre of water, bring to a simmer and gently poach the pears for about 2 hours or until tender. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight to steep.
Before serving, remove the pears and set aside to bring to room temperature.
Boil the syrup until reduced to a sticky glaze, about 250ml. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of saffron glaze over the pears, then serve with ice cream or cream.