Return to listing

Pears Baked in Marsala Wine

The rich, dark flavour of Marsala combined with fragrant pear juices is a quite stunning combination. But this recipe can also be made with red wine or strong dry cider – each version has its own particular charm.

When you shop for the pears, looks are important: a good pear shape and a long stalk intact are essential, and the fruit needs to be hard and not ripe – which is perhaps fortunate as ripe pears always seem difficult to find.

 Pears Baked in Marsala Wine

  Serves 8

For the pears:
 8 large hard pears
 1 pint (570 ml) Marsala
 2 oz (50 g) caster sugar
 2 whole cinnamon sticks
 1 vanilla pod
 1 rounded dessertspoon arrowroot
To serve:
 1 x 500 ml tub crème fraîche
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark ½, 250ºF (130ºC)
Oven temperatures and Conversions
Click here for information
You will also need a large flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.


Using a potato peeler thinly pare off the outer skin of the pears, but leave the stalks intact. Then slice off a thin little disc from each pear base so they can sit upright. Now lay the pears on their side in the casserole. Pour in the Marsala then sprinkle over the sugar and add the cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod.

Now bring everything up to simmering point, then cover the casserole and bake the pears on a low shelf in the oven for about 1½ hours.

After that remove the casserole from the oven, turn the pears over on to their other side, then replace the lid and return them to the oven for a further 1½ hours.

When the pears are cooked, transfer them to a serving bowl to cool, leaving the liquid in the casserole. Then remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod. Place the casserole over direct heat and then, in a cup, mix the arrowroot with a little cold water until you have a smooth paste.

Add this to the casserole, whisking with a small whisk as you add it.

Bring the syrup just up to simmering point, by which time it will have thickened slightly.

Then remove from the heat and when the syrup is cool, spoon it over the pears, basting them well.

Now cover the pears with foil or clingfilm and place them in the fridge to chill thoroughly.

Serve the pears sitting upright in individual dishes with the sauce spooned over and the crème fraîche handed round separately.



Return to Homepage
Visit the Delia Online Cookery School

Related recipes

Fresh Peaches Baked in Marsala with Mascarpone Cream Serves 6

Fresh Peaches Baked in Marsala with Mascarpone Cream

Perfect for late-summer entertaining, this wonderful dessert has to be made in advance, leaving you stress-free on the day! The combination of fresh apricots, Marsala and mascarpone cream is utterly sublime.

Plums in Marsala Serves 6

Plums in Marsala

Marsala has a wonderful depth when cooked with fruit or, indeed, any other ingredient. Serve this luscious dessert with rice pudding and other creamy puddings - or simply on its own.

A Compote of Figs in Marsala Wine with Mascarpone Mousse Serves 6

A Compote of Figs in Marsala Wine with Mascarpone Mousse

Elegant and autumnal, this dessert would go down well at the end of a special meal and is simplicity itself to make. Of course, you can use the mascarpone mousse in other recipes too - a great addition to your repertoire!

Squidgy Chocolate Cakes with Prunes in Marsala Serves 4

Squidgy Chocolate Cakes with Prunes in Marsala

A friend challenged Delia to come up with a chocolate cake that was low in fat: this is the luscious result, to make chocolate fans rejoice!

Dairy Cream with a Compote of Blueberries in Marsala Serves 6

Dairy Cream with a Compote of Blueberries in Marsala

Make this the day before you want to serve it and you'll be rewarded with one of the lightest, creamiest desserts ever. Blueberries make a wonderful compote but you could also use other summer berries instead.

Zabaglione Ice Cream with Biscotti Serves 4

Zabaglione Ice Cream with Biscotti

Make zabaglione then take it a stage further with this divine taste of Italy including Marsala and crushed amaretti biscuits. A rich but indulgent dessert.

Zabaglione Serves 4


Forget all that whisking usually associated with a classic Zabaglione: this one is much more straightforward, thanks to a secret ingredient from Delia!

Christmas Pudding (Without the Pudding) with Marsala Syllabub Serves 6-8

Christmas Pudding (Without the Pudding) with Marsala Syllabub

For those who don't like Christmas pudding, Delia has taken all those spicy fragrances and flavours of Christmas, and made them into a very slowly cooked compote in Marsala wine, so that all the wonderful flavours can develop and mingle together.




Popular topic
Latest post
Ask Lindsey... Kaiserschmarrn
07 Feb 2016 22:30
Coffee Break Hello...Farewell
03 Feb 2016 17:37
Food and travel Sponge receipe needed
14 Nov 2015 22:15
Can Anyone Help? Shortcrust pastry.
07 Feb 2016 11:32
Books slow cooking
20 Dec 2015 23:44
Equipment KitchenAid
07 Feb 2016 11:50
Gardening Weekend bird watch
07 Feb 2016 11:44
CMS solutions by