1 quart water
1.5 cups sugar
length of cinnamon stick
about 15 whole cloves
7 little peelings of lemon skin
1 tsp tea leaves (I used Lapsang Sujung for a mysteriously smokey flavor, but any black tea will do)
2 cups red wine (this is optional)
Put all in a pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes
Meanwhile, cut in half and skin as many pears as you wish to poach. They should be ripe but still firm; over-ripe pears will fall apart.
After the poaching liquid has cooked, add the pears and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place in bowl. Strain the liquid (it can be re-used if stored in fridge, but don’t keep it forever) and pour it over the pears. Let sit as long as you like and serve with plenty of poaching liquid at room temperature. These are especially good with amaretto cookies – encourage your guests to put their cookies in the pear syrup. Also good served with a custard sauce and/or chocolate… but then, what isn’t good served with chocolate?