Cranberries & Poached Pears

  Ingredients 8 small pears, such as Seckel or Forelle, peeled, stems intact 2 tablespoons superfine sugar 1 cinnamon stick 1 large strip (4 to 5 inches) orange peel 1 large strip (4 to 5 inches) lemon peel 5 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 2 3/4 cups (10 ounces) fresh cranberries 1 tea bag, such as green tea or fruit tea 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional) Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, or soft goat cheese, for serving Directions 1. Step 1 Place pears in a saucepan large enough to hold them snugly. Add enough water to barely cover them (about 4 cups). Add sugar, cinnamon, citrus peels, honey, and lemon juice. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape vanilla seeds into pan, and toss in pod. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until pears are tender, about 10 minutes. 2. Step 2 Add fresh cranberries, and simmer until cranberries are soft but not mushy, about 3 minutes more. 3. Step 3 Use a spoon to transfer pears to a dish. Spoon cranberries and syrup around pears. Add tea bag and dried cranberries if using. Let cool for 15 minutes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. 4. Step 4 Before serving, remove vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, citrus peels, and tea bag. Transfer pears to plates with some of the cranberries, syrup, and a dollop of yogurt, creme fraiche, or cheese.]]>