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Chocolate Pistachio Roulade with Marsala Pears

At first this seems a fiddly dish, but it's actually excellent for a busy dinner party cook. Both the roulade and the poached pears can be made in advance and assembled minutes before serving. 

Chocolate Pistachio Roulade with Marsala Pears

Serves: 8 


  • 5 eggs 
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 100g caster sugar 
  • 150g pistachios, roughly chopped 
  • 175g dark chocolate, melted   


  • 2 large pears, peeled, de-cored and sliced 
  • 100ml marsala 
  • 100ml water 
  • 50g caster sugar   
  • 284mls whipping cream   


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas5. 
  2. Line a Swiss roll tin 28x38cm with baking parchment. 

To make the pears:

  1. First cook the pears, as they need to be cold to fill the roulade. 
  2. Heat the marsala, water and caster sugar in a saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. 
  3. Add the pears and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pears for 5 minutes. The pears should go translucent but hold their shape. 
  4. Drain the pears, reserving the liquor and leave the pears to cool. 

To make the roulade: 

  1. Separate 3 of the 5 eggs, putting the egg whites in a clean large bowl and the egg yolks in another large bowl. 
  2. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. 
  3. Add the remaining 2 whole eggs to the 3 egg yolks. 
  4. Add the vanilla essence and sugar, then whisk until creamy and frothy. 
  5. Whisk in the melted chocolate and then stir in the pistachios, reserving a few for decoration. 
  6. Spread the roulade mix evenly over the prepared Swiss roll tin and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios. 
  7. Bake for ten minutes, until firm to the touch and slightly risen. 
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. 
  9. Invert the cooled roulade onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment. Carefully peel off the baking parchment it was baked on. 
  10. Whip the cream with 3 tablespoons of the reserved pear liquor. 
  11. Spread evenly over the roulade, leaving a small border around the edges. Cover evenly with the sliced pears. 

To roll up the roulade:

  1. Gently take the tea towel or baking parchment at one short end placed opposite you and lift the edge of the roulade and carefully roll it up, pulling the roulade towards you as you roll. 
  2. Place the roulade on a serving dish with the join at the bottom and don’t worry if it splits a little as it will taste just as good   


  • Marsala is a sweet fortified wine from Sicily. You could use port or sherry instead.
  • The marsala pears are delicious served warm on their own, just boil down the remaining liquor to a thick syrup, pour over the pears and serve with vanilla ice cream.