Tilslørte bondepiker, or veiled farm girls, is a very traditional Norwegian dessert, and I think one of the best. Normally it is made with applesauce or apple compote and cinnamon, but I decided to switch it up and try it with pears and cardamom. The resulting parfaits are just as delicious and simple a the original, but I think these flavors are a little more subtle and elegant. (And, I know that 2 tsp. of cardamom in the bread crumbs seems like a lot, but I found that the flavor of the toasted bread crumbs overpowered cardamom more easily than they do cinnamon, so I added extra until the cardamom scent and flavor floated through.) —fiveandspice
Peel and core the pears and cut them into small chunks. Then, combine the white wine, honey, lemon zest, cardamom pods in a saucepan. Add the pear and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pears are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (If after the 10 minutes most of the liquid hasn't already evaporated, remove the pears with a slotted spoon and boil down the remaining liquid until a syrup forms, then add this back to the pears and cool.)
In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium, add the bread crumbs, 1 Tbs. sugar, and the ground cardamom. Cook, stirring constantly until the breadcrumbs are lightly golden. Remove from the heat and allow these to cool completely as well.
Whip the cream with the remaining Tbs. sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. In a large glass bowl or in four individual serving dishes, layer the pear compote, the breadcrumbs, and the whipped cream in at least two repetitions of the layers being sure to end with whipped cream on the top - this is the veil. Chill 30 minutes before serving.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.