Roast pears in Marsala and saffron syrup

Roast pears in Marsala and saffron syrup

Roasting Tray Magic
Cooking time
60 mins
Faith Mason

This simple but sumptuous pudding appeals to all the senses: it tastes and looks wonderful, and your kitchen will smell ambrosial while it’s cooking. The grown-up flavours – booze, herbs and fruit – really sing together beautifully.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
100g light brown soft sugar
generous pinch saffron strands, chopped
200ml sweet marsala or medium sherry
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 rosemary sprig
4 firm but ripe pears, ideally Conference or William
200g mascarpone cheese
200g creme fraiche
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
toasted flaked almonds, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and saffron in a 30 x 20 x 5-cm roasting tray and pour over 125ml just-boiled water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter – it doesn’t matter if there are still traces left. Stir in the Marsala and lemon juice, and add the rosemary sprig.
  3. Peel and halve each pear, then scoop out the core with a teaspoon or melon baller. Transfer the fruit, cut-side down, to the roasting tray as you go, spooning over some of the liquid to stop it discolouring.
  4. Roast for about 50 minutes, basting frequently, and gently turning the fruit over halfway through. When done, the pears should be very tender and the liquid reduced to lovely amber syrup.
  5. Meanwhile, lightly whisk the mascarpone, crème fraîche, icing sugar and vanilla seeds together in a bowl. Chill in the fridge until needed.
  6. Serve the pears with the syrup spooned over and topped with the mascarpone cream and flaked almonds, if you like.
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