Sticky Drunken Pears

8 firm Bosc pears, stems attached
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups sweet wine, such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
Strips of zest from 1 lemon
1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 medium cinnamon stick
1 cup turbinado sugar
Whipped crème fraîche, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a 9-inch-square baking dish, arrange the pears stem end up, leaving space between them.

Mix the lemon juice with the sweet wine and pour over the pears. Add the lemon zest, vanilla bean and seeds and cinnamon stick to the baking dish and sprinkle the sugar over the pears.

Bake, basting every 15 minutes, until the pears are softened and starting to burst slightly, about 45 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a serving dish.

Pour the syrup into a small saucepan. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced by one-third, 12 to 15 minutes. Pour the syrup over the pears; serve with whipped crème fraîche.

Servings: 8

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