Clodagh McKenna’s marsala and star anise poached pears

I created this recipe after the first harvest of honey from our beehives, when the pears were ripe and ready to be picked from the orchard, and it’s become an autumn favourite. At other times of year, I swap out the pears for whatever fruits are in season, such as peaches or plums. Marsala wine is a must for your pantry as it’s so good for poaching fruit, adding a delicious rich sweetness.

clodagh McKenna poached pears
Dora Kazmierak

SERVES 4

250ml dry marsala wine
100g light soft brown sugar
2 tbsp runny local honey
1 tbsp freshly squeezed
lemon juice
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
4 pears, peeled with the stem still attached
200g mascarpone cheese, to serve

1. Start by making the spiced marsala syrup. Place the marsala wine, sugar, honey, lemon juice, star anise and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and place the pears in the pan so that they stand upright. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes, basting the pears with the liquid a couple of times during cooking, until the pears can easily be pierced with a fork.

2. Scoop the poached pears on to serving dishes, pour the syrup on top and serve each portion with a dollop of mascarpone cheese.

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clodagh's weeknight kitchenClodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen by Clodagh McKenna will be published by Kyle Books on 29 October, price £20. To order a copy for £13 until 1 November go to whsmith.co.uk and enter the code YOUCLODAGH at the checkout. Book number: 9780857838872. Terms and conditions: whsmith.co.uk/terms