4 firm pears, halved and cored. Bosc works best
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups turbinado sugar
2 cups white dry wine
1 split vanilla bean
1 8-oz package Mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
In a large saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Reduce to simmer and add wine and vanilla bean. Cook the pears in the liquid until tender, about 15-25 minutes. Pears should have no resistance when poked with a knife. Chill the pears in the poaching liquid (can be made a day ahead of time).
For the filling: Combine cheese, honey and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into bowl. Whip with an electric mixer, adding cream slowly until desired consistency is achieved. Add a dollop of filling onto each pear half.
For the Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle with a nice Balsamico Condimento, or reduce 1 cup of Balsamic Vinegar of Mondena with tbsp of brown sugar. Drizzle over pears.
A word about vinegars: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, the best and rarest of all balsamic vinegars, is subject to strict regulation and aged for at least 12 years. It is rich, sweet, complex, velvety and thick and best served drizzled over fruit, tomatoes, cheese or panna cotta. Tradizionale vinegars are usually between $100-$200 for 100ml, but are unmatched in their quality and complexity. Aceto Balsamico Condimento is made entirely of grape must. No red wine is added. These are typically thicker and sweeter and beautiful over ice cream or cheese. Balsamic Vinegars of Modena vary wildly by age, price and quality. The AIB (Italian Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Association) created a leaf system to clarify market claims, but it is best to taste a variety and decide what you like.