SERVES: 6 | PREPARE: 10 mins | COOK: 35 mins
1. Take a large saucepan and add the wine, sugar, cinnamon and thyme. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the black seeds and add to the saucepan. Cut each piece of the pod into three thin strips, and add to the pan.
2. Lower the pears into the wine, cover the pan and poach, gently, for 20-30 mins, making sure they are submerged in the wine. The cooking time depends on the ripeness of your pears – they should be tender all the way through when pierced.
3. Remove the pears from the pan, then boil the liquid to reduce it by half until it becomes a syrup. Serve each pear with the cooled syrup, a strip of vanilla, and a small sprig of thyme. We like this served with homemade brandy crème fraiche – just mix the ingredients together and serve!
For the pears:
• 6 firm pears, peeled, but kept whole with stalk intact
• 1 bottle of red wine – you can substitute this, partly or entirely, for cranberry or pomegranate juice if you prefer. You can also use white wine if you wish to serve the pears with a ruby-red fruit sauce.
• 1 vanilla pod
• 225g caster sugar
• 1 cinnamon stick
• Fresh thyme
For the sauce:
• 225g crème fraiche
• 60ml maple syrup
• 2tsp brandy