6 servings (serving size: 2 pear halves and about 3 tablespoons sauce)
6 firm ripe Anjou pears (2 3/4 pounds), peeled
1 (500-milliliter) bottle Vino Santo or other sweet dessert wine
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 (3-inch) vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
6 tablespoons crème fraîche (optional)
Ground cinnamon (optional)
How to Make It
Remove cores from blossom ends of pears, leaving stem end intact. If necessary, cut about 1/4 inch from base of each pear so it sits flat. Place wine, sugar, and orange juice in an oval 5-quart electric slow cooker; stir until sugar dissolves. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and bean into wine mixture. Add juniper berries and cinnamon stick. Set pears in wine mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until pears are tender.
Remove pears from cooking liquid. Cut pears in half. Place pear halves in dessert dishes.
Pour cooking liquid into a sieve over a medium saucepan; discard solids. Bring to a boil; boil 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Drizzle sauce evenly over pears. Top with crème fraîche and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.