Zabaglione with pears and pine nut croccante

Theo Randall serves a famous Italian dessert with fragrant pears and crunchy toffeed nuts
By Theo Randall
Zabaglione with pears and pine nut croccante
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 3 pears, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 75 ml sweet marsala
  • 100 g toasted pine nuts
  • 75 ml double cream


1. Put the vanilla pod, 50g caster sugar and the water in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pears and cook until they are just tender, taking care not to let them get mushy. Remove from heat and let them cool in the syrup while you prepare the zabaglione.

2. Put the egg yolks and 100g caster sugar in a bowl and whisk over a bain-marie for 1 minute. Add the marsala and whisk again until the mixture has increased in volume by four times. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

3. In a small, heavy-based saucepan, heat the remaining caster sugar and 1 tablespoon water, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then boil until the caramel is a light golden colour.

4. Add the toasted pine nuts and cook for 2 minutes.

5. Pour the mixture onto a baking tray and leave to cool. When cold and hard, smash the toffee into small pieces.

6. Whip the cream until it will hold soft peaks then fold this into the cooled zabaglione.

7. To serve, put the poached pears into dessert glasses, spoon over the zabaglione and sprinkle with the pine nut croccante.

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