Here is a delicious example of eastern spices used to complement a western dish. Recipe edited to add sugar (which was left out).
- Combine sugar 2 tablespoons water, star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean in a heavy large saucepan.
- Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat and boil with out stirring until syrup turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 9 minutes.
- Remove from heat add 1 1/4 cups of water (the mixture will bubble vigorously).
- Bring to a simmer, stirring until pieces of caramel dissolve.
- Add pears, cover and simmer until tender, turning pears once about 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to bowl.
- Boil liquid in sauce pan until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
- Pour syrup over pears toss gently to coat.
- Chill until cold.
- Serve cold.
This is a fantastic dessert! It goes well with Vanilla Ice Cream.
I used beurre bosc pears which needed a lot more cooking (15-20 min) to become tender. The flavour is quite subtle and I wasn't bowled over when I first tasted it. Then I tried it with homemade vanilla ice cream and the combination was really great. The richness of the ice cream complements the pears so well. I recommend not making the caramel too dark. The sweetness was about right.
A wonderful dessert! Definitely need to keep an eye on the syrup while cooking. The flavors of the spices are so nice with the pears. Will be making this again!