2 cups white wine
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron
1/2 vanilla bean
4 Anjou pears
Fresh raspberries and mint leaves for garnish
Combine wine, sugar, saffron and vanilla in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, with a stainless steel knife, trim bottom of pears so they stand upright. Peel them, leaving an inch of the peel at the stem end. With the help of an apple corer or melon baller, cut out core and seeds, working from the bottom end.
Add pears to poaching liquid and poach them, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until barely soft. Remove pan from heat and either let pears cool in poaching liquid and serve liquid as is or, cool pears in liquid for an hour only. Remove from syrup, then reduce syrup until thickened and concentrated; cool.
Option: When cool, stuff cavity with fresh raspberries, stand pears upright in a bowl, drizzle syrup around pears and float raspberries and mint leaves over syrup.
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