08 March 2014

Warm Caramelized Pears with Clove Zabaglione - Virtual Supper Club Treasure!

Cooking Italian is one of my favorite approaches to special dinners, but I have to admit that my repertoire of Italian desserts has never been the focal point of my quest for excellent Italian fare. I have always concentrated on the main meat dishes or special sauces for pastas or interesting treatments for vegetables and fallen back on tried and true desserts like tiramisu or sorbets. That's why this month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club was such fun (albeit a tad late).

Val and Sarah challenged me to provide a dessert for this month's theme of Let's Go Italian and finding this recipe for caramelized pears with a soft warm zabaglione sauce was like hitting pirate treasure. It's an easy recipe that can be done ahead of time. I poached the pears last night, drizzled warm chocolate over them and then chilled them to set the chocolate. Today, I let them warm gently in a slightly warm oven while I whipped just a bit of cream and cooked the clove zabaglione sauce. The dessert came together in just ten minutes.

Tender pears, a sweet spicy sauce, and barely sweetened whipped cream that is sprinkled with lemon zest and a hint of nutmeg ... served with a glass of Port wine, it was the perfect end to a perfect luncheon.

The Cooking Light recipe suggests that one pear half is a serving for this dessert. Agreed- with a dollop of whipped cream this is a nice portion. SB, however, went for a whole pear with gusto!

Using a utensil for making melon balls makes for an easy and clean look to the pear halves. The poaching liquid is used to baste the pears during their baking time and they come from the oven tender firm and with a pretty sugary glaze.

The rest of the drizzles and sauce and cream just fancies them up even more. This is such an elegant dessert! The only addition I made was to melt 70% dark chocolate for an extra layer of deliciousness. It worked very well with the baking spices in the caramelized pear juices and the zabaglione sauce. You might decide to leave it out; it would be just as rich and tasty!

Warm Caramelized Pears with Clove Zabaglione

Serves 8

For the Caramelized Pears:

1 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ c. sweet Marsala wine
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. butter
2 pieces lemon rind – 1 x 3 inches long
4 large Bosc pears, halved length-wise and cored
Cooking spray
13 x 9 inch baking pan

For the Zabaglione Sauce:

6 tbsp. sweet Marsala wine
¼ c. sugar
2 tbsp. water
⅛ tsp. salt
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp. butter
small saucepan

Lemon zest and ground nutmeg for garnish - optional
Slightly sweetened whipped cream - optional

Making the Dessert:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine the first five ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Combine the Marsala, honey, butter, 1 tsp. of the spice mixture, and lemon rind in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the  butter has melted.
  4. Spray the baking dish with the cooking spray. Lay the prepped pears in the dish split side up.
  5. Pour the honey Marsala mixture over the pears halves. Bake the  dish uncovered for about 30 minutes, basting the pears occasionally. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
  6. Combine the second measure of Marsala wine in a small saucepan with the sugar, water, salt, egg yolks and whisk gently over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. This takes about four to five minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and the remaining spice mixture.
  8. To serve: place a warm pear half in a shallow bowl. Spoon some of the sauce over the pear and add a dollop of whipped cream, if you wish.  Sprinkle on some lemon zest and a tiny grating of nutmeg and serve immediately.

So ... the rest  of this month's Italian feast is waiting for your review! Let's take a look at the menu!

 March's 'Going Italian' Menu

An Afterword ... To all my fellow members of the Virtual Supper Club, I am so sorry to be so late on this month's dessert. I have had a difficult week, travelling to take care of a friend who had surgery, helping to plan church events while our pastor mourns the loss of a dear friend, and trying desperately to keep my house and home on an even keel. Blogging had to happen when I could fit it in ... I'm glad I made this dish, as it was a sweet way to end a stressful week. It never rains, but it pours, huh?


  1. Wow, it sounds amazing Susan. I agree with the title that this recipe is a treasure. The warm zabaglione sauce has me intrigued as well.

  2. ahhh, this is utter bliss for me. I have always loved poached pairs... they are quite sophisticated I think but are very retro too... mum used to make them back in the 70's but these look wonderfully contemporary!

  3. These look amazing! I love the idea of the clove scented zabaglione sauce.

    It sounds as if you have had a trying period - this winter we've been having just piles it on IMHO. Anyway - take care of yourself!!!


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