Gingered Poached Pears

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12 Seckel or 6 Bartlett pears
1/2 lemon, sliced and seeds removed
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (omit if you plan to serve cold)
pinch salt
1 Tablespoon candied ginger, optional
1 vanilla bean, split into two lengthwise

Put the lemon, honey, maple syrup, butter, salt, ginger and vanilla bean into a deep saucepan or pot. The vessel should be much higher than the pears.

Peel the pears leaving the stem. Trim the bottom of the pear so it will stand up properly. Place the pears in the pot and add enough water so that they are submerged half way. Simmer with the pan covered for 10 minutes. Remove lid and simmer another 10 minutes or until the pears are tender when you poke them with a knife. Remove the pears and reduce the liquid to desired consistency. You can make a syrup or even a caramel sauce if you continue to cook it for about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup and pour over the pears before serving. Serve warm, omit butter if you wish to serve cold.



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