A seasonal combination of flavours in this classic and tasty pudding.
6 Comice pears peeled, but kept whole with the stalk intact
1 vanilla pod
1 bottle red wine
225g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick, halved
One orange sliced
fresh thyme sprig, plus sprigs to serve
Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the black seeds and put in a large saucepan with the wine, sugar, cinnamon, orange slices and thyme. Cut each piece of pod into three long thin strips, add to pan, then lower in the pears.
Poach the pears, covered, for 20-30 mins, making sure they are covered in the wine. The cooking time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears. When cooked they should be soft but not mushy all the way through when pierced with a cocktail stick. You can make these up to two days in advance and keep them chilled.
Take the pears from the pan and set to one side to cool, then boil the liquid to reduce it by half. Serve each pear with the cooled syrup, a strip of vanilla, a piece of cinnamon, slice of orange and a small thyme sprig. Serve hot or cold with a dollop of clotted cream.