Simple to make, impressive to look at and delicious to eat!
6 ripe but firm pears, one bottle of red wine (750ml), 2 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cloves, juice and rind of half an orange, 1/3 cup sugar, one vanilla pod.
Place the wine in a pot on medium heat. (always use a good wine, one that you would drink). Add the spices, sugar, vanilla pod and orange juice and rind. Bring to the boil. Peel the pears very carefully. Keep them whole and do not remove the stalks. Slice a piece off the bottom of the pear so that it stands upright. Once the wine comes to the boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the pears to the wine and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pears are cooked but still firm. Turn the pears once or twice to ensure they are evenly coloured. Gently remove the pears from the pot and place on the serving dish in an upright position. Increase the heat and boil the wine until it slightly thickens.(about 10-15 minutes). Pour the wine over the pears. When the pears are cool place in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge and serve the pears at room temperature with fresh cream, marscapone or vanilla ice cream.