Prepare the fruit: Drain the mango slices and pear quarters in a sieve over a pan. Shake the sieve well, then set it aside over a bowl. If the mango slices are rather large, cut them into thinner slices.
Make the syrup: Add the lime zest and juice to the pan. Cut a slit in each cardamom pod as you add it to the pan. Bring the syrup to the boil and boil hard for 5-6 minutes or until it is reduced by about half and aromatic with cardamom.
Assemble and serve: While the syrup is boiling, arrange the mango slices and pear quarters in four large, shallow dessert dishes. Spoon over the reduced syrup (remove the cardamoms, if you like), sprinkle with pistachio nuts and serve.
Some Variations: *For lime and cardamoms, use the zest of 1 orange (without the juice) and 1 cinnamon stick. *For pistachio nuts, use chopped walnuts or toasted flaked almonds. *For the mangos and pears, use a 425g can peach slices or halves and a 425g can lychees.
This compote is a terrific get-ahead dessert. Arrange the fruit in a large bowl, pour over the syrup (with the cardamoms) and chill for several hours or overnight.
Pear compote with rosewater and pistachio ricotta: Follow the main recipe but use canned pear halves instead of quarters. Mix 100g ricotta cheese with 1 tsp icing sugar and 1 tbsp rosewater. Spoon this into 4 pear halves and arrange them in the dishes, then press the pistachio nuts on top. Arrange the mango slices around the pears, slicing any remaining pear halves and adding them as well. Spoon over the reduced syrup and serve.