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An excellent, light dessert with pears poached in wine and spices. Love the juices!
4 Bosc pears, peeled & cored, seeds removed (a melon baller is a good tool for this)
Juice of ½ a lemon or more to taste
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup liquid honey + more if necessary
1 cup white wine
½ cup water
½ a vanilla bean or ¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 whole cloves
Approximately ¼ of a whole star anise
1” piece of cinnamon stick
2 or 3 whole black peppercorns (opt.)
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise to open & expose the seeds; scrape the seeds from the bean. Place all the ingredients, except the pears into a deep large skillet & bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low & taste to see if the mixture is sweet enough, adding a bit more honey to suit your taste.
Place the pears into the poaching liquid; cover & simmer for 10 minutes, turning the pears over after 5 minutes, checking with a very sharp knife to test for doneness. The pears should be just tender. Remove them to a glass dish large enough to hold the pears in one layer, using a slotted spoon.
Reduce the liquid until slightly syrupy, adding a bit more lemon juice if desired, then pour over the pears; chill the pears until cold or chill overnight.