We had this dessert at a neighbours house last summer after dinner outdoors in their rustic, tuscan inspired garden complete with big white market umbrellas and olive trees...this dessert was perfect for the season with beautiful pops of flavour from the berries and the sweetness of the poached pears. In winter I'd just poach the pears and serve alone or with some season fruits which have been baked in the oven, serve with mascarpone and custard.
Place the platter of fruit in the middle of the table and let people spoon some of each fruit into their bowl (don't forget to spoon some of the poaching mixture on top of the pears), top with a large spoonful of italian mascarpone or thick yoghurt...or you can mix the mascarpone with some whipped cream or mix some vanilla bean paste through it if you don't like it on it's own.
1 1/3 cups (295 g) caster sugar
1 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
4 firm beurre bosc pears, peeled
Place 2 cups (500ml) water in a heavy based saucepan with the sugar, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. Gently add the pears. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pears are just tender.
Recipe from "Recipes From My Mothers Kitchen"