Somehow or other, when I decide to cut back on desserts, fruit gets a free pass. OK, forget that scoop of ice cream nestled beside the pear on the plate above, and the sugar and butter in the recipe, below.
Pears poached in red wine has been one of my standard winter desserts for years, but after receiving a copy of Rachel Roddy’s new book, “My Kitchen In Rome,” I knew that I had to try her recipe for baked pears in Marsala wine and cinnamon.
Many of the recipes in this new book by a young English woman transplanted to Rome had me pining for the Eternal City, and will be familiar to anyone who’s a fan of Roman cuisine. You’ll find old favorites like spaghetti alla carbonara and carciofi alla romana, but also some unusual and tempting recipes like a sausage and cabbage cake that looks like an oak tree’s trunk and branches when flipped out of its pan.
And if you love octopus, she’s got a recipe for cooking it that ensures a perfectly tender and flavorful result every time.
What I also love about this book is the writing.
Rachel’s got a real way with words and telling stories, so it’s not surprising that she also writes a column for the British newspaper, The Guardian.
But back to those pears. The recipe calls for comice pears, and I don’t know if what I bought were comice pears. They were on the smallish side, so they could have been, but I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter though, because I think you could easily make these with any type of pear.
First you smear the pears with butter. Then sprinkle with sugar and pour the Marsala and other ingredients over the pears.
Bake in the oven for about a half hour, covered, then another half hour uncovered, until the pears are tender and slightly shriveled.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream, or a spoonful of mascarpone, as Rachel suggests.
Baked Pears with Marsala and cinnamon
printable recipe here
from “My Kitchen in Rome” by Rachel Roddy
6 Comice pears (or other types)
3 Tablespoons soft unsalted butter
1 cup dry Marsala wine (I used sweet Marsala)
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
mascarpone (or ice cream), to serve
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Slice the bottom off each pear so that they sit flat. Using a sharp knife, cut out the central core as best you can. Rub some butter over the skin of each pear and sit them, stalk upward, in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the Marsala, sprinkle on the sugar, and break the cinnamon sticks roughly over the pears. Cover the dish loosely with foil.
Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking for another 25 minutes, or until the pears are very tender and slightly shriveled. Serve warm or at room temperature, with some of the sticky juices and a scoop or ice cream or mascarpone cheese.