2poundsfirm Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc pears, peeled, leaving the stem intact (4 pears)
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutesminutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hourshours5 minutesminutes
Place the white wine, water, sugar, and vanilla bean pod and pulp into a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Core the pears from the bottom. Decrease the heat to medium-low and place the pears into the liquid, cover, and cook, maintaining a gentle simmer, until the pears are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes. Remove the pears to a serving dish, standing them upright, and place in the refrigerator.
Remove the vanilla bean pod from the saucepan, increase the heat to high, and reduce the syrup to approximately 1 cup of liquid, 20 to 25 minutes. The syrup should be golden brown-do not let it get too dark, or it will become bitter. Place the syrup in a heatproof container and place in the refrigerator until cool, approximately 1 hour.
Remove the pears from the refrigerator, spoon the sauce over the pears, and serve.