I tried quite a few foods for the first time in Italy, but one of my favorite new discoveries was the dessert we made at Giglio Cooking School in Florence. As promised, I'm all ready to share that recipe today! While the idea of pears poached in wine wasn't completely foreign to me, I'd never heard of "zabaione" before dear, sweet Marcella introduced us to it. Turns out zabaione is sweet, egg and wine based (of all things) and custard-like in nature. The trickiest part was the length of time the zabaione needed to come to temperature...you've gotta keep whipping it the whole time so plan for a workout or a partner. Aside from that, it's actually a very simple recipe that only looks and tastes complicated. Bonus: it's all kinds of delicious.
1 1/2 oz butter
8 oz sugar
4 cups red wine
For the Zabaione:
5 egg yolks
2 1/2 oz sugar
3 TBS dry Marsala wine
3 TBS dry white wine
Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached, and core the bottom 3/4 of the pear.
Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so it stands flat. In a pan large enough to contain the 8 standing pears, pour wine, sugar and butter. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the pears.
Keep an eye on the pears as they slowly but surely absorb the color and flavor of the wine sauce...how lovely is that?
Remove pears when saturated and tender but be sure to keep them warm. Cook the wine sauce to reduce.
For the zabaione, whisk the yolks with the sugar until foamy and pale. While whisking, add Marsala and white wine. Cook the zabaione in a double boiler, always stirring, until your thermometer reads 158F (70C)...it should make ribbons when lifted. Pssst- That's our cooking teacher and new friend, Marcella. She's the best.
Serve pears with wine sauce and zabaione. It's such a unique dessert and really tasty. I so hope you get a chance to try it!