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This is a very old recipe from the early days at my former restaurant at Mistress Augustine’s but it remains a favourite with everyone who tastes it.

Hot Poached Pears With Zabaglione
dessert for 6 persons

for the pears
6 firm, but ripe pears
250g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
250g Marsala

for the zabaglione
6 extra large egg yolks
100g caster sugar
100g Marsala
30g Cognac

for the pears
Put the sugar, cinnamon stick, Marsala and 2 litres of water into the saucepan place on medium heat. Cut a piece from the bottom of each pear so that they will stand upright, peel them and carefully remove the core. Put the pears into their poaching water, adding sufficient water to just cover them. Cover with a disk of baking paper and weight them under the syrup. Cook until just tender, remembering that you will probably be re–heating them and they will cook a little further during this time.

for the Zabaglione
Put the egg yolks into a large stainless steel bowl. Weigh in the other ingredients and whisk together. Place the egg yolks and sugar into the stainless steel bowl, whisk them together and then add the Marsala and Cognac. Whisk together and refrigerate covered with plastic until you are ready to cook. This best done shortly before you want to finish the dish.

to serve
Half fill a saucepan with hot water and place on high heat. Re–heat the pears. Sit the bowl of Zabaglione on top and whisk continuously until thick and fluffy. Place a pear the centre of warmed soup plates and divide the zabaglione between the plates – serve immediately.