This is an elegant desert, simple to make, and delicious. This dish is sometimes called “crinkly pears” because of the effect of the baking on the unpeeled pears.
1-1/2 c dry red wine
1/2 c sugar
4 whole allspice
1 piece (about 2 inches) cinnamon stick, or 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 piece (about 2 inches) vanilla bean, or 1 t vanilla extract
1 bay leaf
4 large, firm ripe Bosc pears, washed, dried
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the pears in one layer. (A 10-inch pie plate works well.)
2. Add the wine, sugar, allspice, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and bay leaf to the baking dish. Stir just until the sugar is partially dissolved.
3. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of the pears so they will stand upright. Place in the wine mixture and spoon some of the wine over them.
4. Bake until the syrup has begun to boil and thicken, 45 to 55 minutes, basting the pears with the wine mixture two or three times during the baking. The pears are done when they are tender when pierced with a toothpick or skewer. The pears may need more time (I once kept the pears in 10 minutes longer.)
5. Let cool to room temperature. Between taking them out of the oven and serving them, if you think of it, spoon some of the syrup over the pears. When serving, definitely spoon some of the wine syrup over each pear.