Zabaglione, also known as Sabayon in France, is a thin custard made from egg yolks and Marsala wine. It’s quite a versatile dessert sauce which can be drizzled over other fruit (fresh figs are classic), cakes, ice cream–or just eaten by itself. Zabaglione is best when served warm. Although the ingredient list seems long, this is quite easy to prepare.

1 t sugar
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/2 c sweet Marsala
3 T honey
1 T butter
2 pieces lemon rind (about 1- x 3-inches long)
oil, for baking pan
4 Bosc pears, halved and cored
6 T sweet Marsala
1/4 c sugar
2 T water
4 large egg yolks
1 t butter
grated lemon zest, optional
extra ground nutmeg, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine 1 t sugar, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine 1/2 c Marsala, honey, butter, rind, and 1 t of the spice mixture in a small saucepan. Cook gently over medium heat until butter and honey (if need be) are melted. Take off heat.

2. Lightly oil a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Place pears in it, cut side up. Pour Marsala mixture over pears. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove from oven, keep warm.

3. Whisk together the 6 T sweet Marsala, 1/4 c sugar, water, salt, and egg yolks in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining spice mixture and the 1 t of butter until blended. Alternatively, you can prepare this in a double boiler. Just make sure the bottom of the  pot (or bowl) is not touching the boiling water in the lower pot.

4. Place 1 pear half in a bowl or small plate with sides. Spoon 1/4 c sauce over each half. Garnish with lemon zest and nutmeg, if desired. Serve immediately.