Poached Pears in Honey, Ginger, and Cinnamon Syrup


  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Moscato
  • 2 cups simple syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in 1/2
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 (3/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 small, firm, ripe Anjou pears, peeled
  • Serving suggestion: vanilla ice cream or gelato


In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, simple syrup, cinnamon stick halves, honey, and ginger. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the bean and seeds to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey has melted. Add the pears and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pears are tender. Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool.
Continue to simmer the liquid until it thickens and is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick halves and the vanilla bean and discard.

Place each pear on a small serving plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with the honey, ginger and cinnamon syrup. Serve immediately.

  • Simple Syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool.

Yield: 2 3/4 cups



Berry Sabayon Gratinee



  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup Moscato
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or sliced strawberries
  • Powdered sugar


In a large glass bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds with the back side of a pairing knife. Add vanilla bean seeds to the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Add wine, a little at a time, and whisk to combine. Add a pinch of salt and whisk again.

Set bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk vigorously and constantly until the sauce is thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the broiler.

Place 1/2 cup berries in the bottom of 6 shallow individual gratin dishes or ovenproof bowls. Spoon an even amount of the sabayon over each dish. Sprinkle the remaining berries evenly over the dishes. Place the dishes on a sheet pan and place on the top shelf of the oven under the broiler. Broil until the sabayon is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.



Orange and Moscato Pudding

Serves 4

  • 2 oranges, zested and cut into suprêmes (See note below.)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (preferably Meyer lemon)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  •  tablespoons + 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 4 egg yolks
  •  cup Moscato
  • 1 teaspoon nice quality vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream (measured after whipping) or mascarpone, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice (easily collected while making suprêmes, if you do it over a bowl) (for the optional garnish)
  • If making a whipped cream or mascarpone topping, reserve 1 tablespoon of the wine, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange zest.
  • Mix the zest of the lemon and of the orange with the sugar. Add the cornstarch and the salt and stir well to combine. Add ¼ cup of cold milk and stir well, to dissolve the cornstarch and remove any lumps.
  • ut the bottom of a double boiler on the stove and heat several inches of water until it starts to simmer.
  • Meanwhile, scald the remaining milk. (I do this in the microwave in a 2 cup measure.)
  • Off the heat and in the top insert of the double boiler, beat the egg yolks.
  • Very slowly add a few drops of hot milk, whisking all the while. Continue to add hot milk, no more than a few drops at a time and whisking constantly, until you’ve added about ½ cup.
  • Strain the egg and milk mixture back into the vessel holding the rest of the hot milk, and pour the combined egg and milk back into the top of the double boiler.
  • Set it over the simmering water in the bottom part of the double boiler, making sure the bottom of the top insert does not touch the water.
  • Heat the egg and milk mixture for about a minute, stirring constantly, very gently.
  • Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and continue to stir.
  • After a few minutes, the mixture should start to thicken.
  • Very, very slowly, add a few drops of the wine, stirring gently but continuously. Add a few more drops and continue to stir. Keep adding a bit of wine at a time, stirring gently between additions, until you’ve added all of it. Then add the vanilla and stir some more.
  • Continue to cook, stirring continuously, for another few minutes, just until the mixture thickens.
  • Remove from the heat, continuing to stir for a few more minutes as the pudding starts to cool.
  • Press a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the pudding as it cools, until ready to serve.
  • Divide the suprêmes evenly between the dishes, then top with pudding. If not serving right away, cover each dish with plastic wrap, if you don't care for the "skin" that will form.
  • Mix the reserved wine and juice into the mascarpone or whipped cream. When ready to serve, drop a small a dollop on each dish, then top with the reserved zest.

Enjoy!! ;o)

N.B.: I recommend Cara Cara oranges for this. Murcotts -- which actually are sweet tangerines -- are also a great choice. I'd use three instead of two of the latter, if they are small. ;o)
N.B. As noted above, the basic proportions are from Mrs. Rombauer's Orange Custard recipe in the 1943 edition of "The Joy of Cooking." The method of stirring some cold liquid into the cornstarch mixture, and the admonition to stir very gently, I learned from a book I stumbled on at the library some time ago, called “Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages.” According to its author, Anne Mendelson, vigorous stirring while cooking a pudding can break the starch links that form to thicken it. ;o)


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