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Poires au vin Rouge

8 firm Bosc pears
2½ cups sugar, divided
8 cups Burgundy wine
strip of lemon zest colored part only
2 The Spice Hunter Indonesian Cinnamon Sticks
½ – 1 tsp. The Spice Hunter Coarse Black Pepper
8 The Spice Hunter Juniper Berries
3 inch piece ginger root, sliced ¼ inch thick
4 The Spice Hunter Whole Penang Cloves
juice of 1 lemon
whipped cream or mascarpone cheese

Select a pot in which pears can fit upright. For poaching liquid, heat 1 cup sugar, wine, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, black pepper, juniper berries and ginger root. Carefully peel pears leaving the stems. Core pears. Cut a slice off bottom of the pear so it will stand. Place in poaching liquid, adding more wine if necessary. Cover pears with parchment, gently weigh them down with a heat-proof lid or plate. Poach until tender, 20-45 min. Remove pears to platter, cover, refrigerate. Strain liquid, return to pot and boil. Add lemon juice and remaining sugar. Thicken 45 min. to 1 hour. Chill sauce. Spoon cream or cheese into pear. Place on a plate and pour sauce over filled pears.