Poached pears in blue cran wine syrup

This recipe uses a local fruit wine, made from blueberry and cranberry. You may substitute another fruit wine if you like, or a light red. Anjou, Bosc and Bartlett pears all work well in this recipe, and should be just ripe or slightly under-ripe for best results.

2 cups blueberry – cranberry wine
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 star anise
6 peppercorns
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

6 pears, peeled, halved, and cored

Bring all ingredients except pears up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to develop flavour
Add pears and simmer until tender, 20-40 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit
Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a shallow dish
Pour poaching liquid over and allow to cool to room temperature(pears may be poached and refrigerated for a few days in advance)

Serve with blue cheese and hazelnut shortbread