Marsala Poached Pears

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Makes 4 serves

  • 4 pears
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 2 cups of Marsala
  • half a tsp cinnamon
  • zest of half an orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • three quarters of a cup soft brown sugar
  • vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)
  • mixed berries to serve (optional)


  1. Peel the pears and set aside.
  2. Put the water, Marsala, cinnamon, orange zest and vanilla paste into a pot. Start heating and add the brown sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Bring to the boil and add the pears. Take the heat down to a simmer, cover and leave the pears for 30 minutes, turning them every 5-10 minutes.
  4. After the 30 minutes, check the pears with a skewer. They should be tender and still holding their shape. Leave to simmer for a few more minutes if needed. When the pears are ready, remove them from the poaching liquid and set aside in a bowl.
  5. Put the poaching liquid over a high heat and reduce by a little more than half. Pour the reduced liquid over the pears and put them in the fridge to cool for several hours.
  6. When chilled, remove the pears from the liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve.
  7. To stand the pears up, cut a small amount off the base of each pear to form a flat bottom. Serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some fresh berries if desired. Drizzle with the strained liquid to finish.

Download a printable PDF version of the recipe.

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Download a printable PDF version of the recipe.