Beat 1 overdue cookbook manuscript with a good dose of post-food writing and photography workshop exhaustion to produce a high state of anxiety.
Transfer to a modest AirBnB rental with a view in northern Italy. Add a good kitchen, superior ingredients and enough red wine at dinner to produce a soundless sleep. Leave aside to rest for 24 hours.
On a lightly floured work surface, press into the loose shape of a schedule of hours of intense work interspersed with brief bursts of exercise and nutritious meals. Set aside for another 48 hours.
On Day 4, turn the oven to 325F and place a rack in the middle.
Stir together 2 cups Marsala with 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar in a medium-sized (12 to 14 inches long) oval baking dish. Add several strips of orange peel (make sure to remove any white pith) and arrange as many firm pears in the dish as will comfortably fit without touching.
Bake the pears, basting every 20 to 30 minutes, until the Marsala mixture sauce reduces by half and the pears wrinkle and begin to collapse, 2 hours or so.
While the pears are baking move your computer to within 6 feet of the stove and, as the sweet scent of fortified wine and autumn fruit fills the kitchen, cut and paste and cut and paste again, and type type type, all the while repeating to yourself that you will finish. And that it is good.
Serve the pears warm or cooled, on their own or with pouring cream, Greek-style thick yogurt, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream. They are also excellent cold, straight from the fridge. Leftover sauce? Spread it over buttered toast, like honey.
Readers in Australia Your Marsala may not be my Marsala (see Ross' comment, below). If that's the case substitute red wine, as in the note below.
Note You can substitute red wine for the Marsala, in which case you might want to increase the sugar by a few tablespoons and add a couple of cloves and a short length of cinnamon stick.