pears baked in marsala with lemon & bay

Pears baked in Marsala with lemon & bay

This recipe for pears baked in Marsala with lemon & bay comes from Diana Henry’s cookbook ‘Simple’ and is the perfect autumnal dessert. I adore using bay in sweet recipes and it adds an amazing flavour dimension to these pears. The lemon zest soaks up all the syrupy juices and turns them into fine marmalade like strands. The sauce thickens up during the roasting and would be sublime poured over ice cream.

I made these pears in my new Scanpan Classic roasting pan which I’m rather enamoured with. Not only does it have a robust stratanium non-stick surface, but it is also designed to use on the stovetop too. So if you need to thicken a gravy or further reduce a sauce (like this pear syrup), you can just pop it on the stove and it works like a pot. It’s easy to clean, metal utensil durable and looks absolutely amazing. I know it’s going to be a workhorse in my kitchen and last forever.

Scanpan is running an amazing PROMOTION with me to give you a 25% discount on ANY Scanpan products until 8 May. Perfect for Mothers Day. Use promo code: drizzleanddip25 on checkout.

*WIN* Also, if you want to win this beautiful roasting pan worth R1500 then head on over to my Instagram and enter there. This is open to South Africans only. All you have to do is like and leave a comment tagging a friend in the post.

Pears baked in Marsala with lemon & bay

Pears baked in Marsala with lemon & bay

Pears baked in Marsala with lemon & bay

Diana recommends using just ripe Pears – preferably William (which we don’t get here), and sadly the variety that I bought – although claiming to be ripe and ready to eat were a little tasteless and very firm. It took me a whole lot longer than the recipe to bake them to the desired golden. So try and find a ripe and juicy pear but not one that is already about to fall apart. Pears have such a short window of ripening. They tend to turn from perfectly ripe to a soggy mess quite quickly. If necessary just bake them longer until knife tender and golden. I probably used at least 5 – 10gms more sugar than the recipe, so add a little extra if your pears aren’t that sweet and after roasting, I removed the pears from the pan and reduced the sauce by about a third to thicken it.

Recipe – serves 6

  • 6 fat ripe pears
  • 600ml Marsala
  • zest of ½ a lemon (use a proper zester vs. a grater, or peel off strands using a vegetable peeler)
  • Juice of that lemon
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 125gm soft light golden sugar (I used the Natura light golden brown sugar which is sublime) – and I added a little extra.

Preheat the oven to 190C / 375 F.

Cut the pears in half from top to bottom and leave the skin and core in (or remove the core with a Parisian scoop). Arrange them skin side down in a pan in which they for quite snuggly with higher sides (like this Scanpan) so the pears are mostly submerged and not all the liquid evapourates.

Pour the Marsala, lemon juice and 100ml of water into the pan and arrange the lemon zest and bay leaves around and under the pears. Sprinkle 100gms of the sugar over and around the pears and then bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden and starting to shrivel up. As mentioned I baked my pears for closer to 90 minutes because they were so firm, so check as you go. During the cooking process spoon some of the sauce over the pears. 10 minutes before they are done, coat the pears with sauce and then sprinkle the remaining sugar over. If necessary thicken the sauce on the stove top before using. Arrange the pears on a serving dish with the sauce poured over and serve warm with cream, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Pears baked in Marsala with lemon & bay

*Disclaimer – This post was created in collaboration with Scanpan

Find me on Instagram

Similar Posts


  1. Hi Sam
    This looks Delicious! Would this work with quince’s? warm wishes Wendy

  2. Hi Wendy, I’m not too sure of the cooking times etc for quince, but you could play around. I think the flavours would work though.

  3. Thanks – i will try a few x

  4. Are you using Indian bay or bay laurel?

  5. Hi Anne, I didn’t know you got different kinds of bay leaves. We only seem to have one kind here.

  6. Hi Sam. Can you let me know what kind you have there? Indian bay is more of a cinnamon like taste. Bay laurel is more pine/lemon. I wouldn’t want to use the wrong one since they are so different!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *