- 6 small to medium, slightly underripe pears
- 1.5 cups sweet Marsala wine
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large, fresh lemon – (2 T juice for poaching liquid, peel for garnish)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- Slice approximately half an inch from the bottom of each pear, so they still stand up flat. Peel the pears whole, leaving the stems on.
- Remove the zest from the lemon (just the yellow part of the peel, not the pith) with a zester or peeler and set aside.
- Put the Marsala, sugar, spices, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice into a deep-sided pot over medium high heat until it just begins to boil.
- Add the pears and reduce the heat until the poaching liquid is simmering. Poach the pears for 10 to 20 minutes, until they are still slightly firm but can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and set aside.
- Increase the heat on the stove, bringing the poaching liquid to a low boil. Stirring frequently, reduce the liquid until it become somewhat syrupy, thick enough so the liquid will lightly coat a spoon.
- Pears can be served warm or at room temperature. Place pears on individual plates or dessert bowls. Evenly divide sauce and spoon over pears. Sprinkle pears with lemon zest and serve.