Serves 6 – 8 people
1 large lemon
About a kilo of hard pears (6 large or 8 small)
750ml of cheap full-bodied red wine
1 vanilla pod (optional)
Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl. Peel the pears completely from the bottom to the stalk rolling them in the lemon juice as you go to stop them browning.
In a large saucepan bring to the bowl the wine sugar and vanilla (if using). Place the pears and any remaining lemon juice in the pan. Lay a few sheets of greaseproof paper over the pears, tuck the corners in and weight it down with a couple of saucers to keep the pears submerged.
Reduce the heat to just undr a simmer and cook the pears for 30-60 minutes until they can be pierced easily with a knife
Let the pears cool still weighted under the saucers and chill overnight. This intensifies the flavour and colour
Lift out the pears. Boil down the syrop until half the volume. When cooled and chilled pour over the pears. Serve with cream.