Poached Pears with Quince Paste
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1 (750 ML) bottle dry white wine
3/4 C sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 (3 by 1 inc) strips fresh lemon zest
1 lb. quince paste
Serve with cheese wafers.
2. Bring wine, sugar, vanilla bean and zest to a boil in a wide 6-quart heavy pot (at least 12 inches in diameter) over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add pears, arranging them on their sides in 1 layer, along with any lemon juice from bowl (pears will not be covered by liquid). Then reduce heat to low and poach pears, covered, turning occasionally until just tender, 15-20 minutes. Carefully transfer pears with a slotted spoon to a 13x9 inch baking dish standing pears upright and reserving liquid in pot.
3. When pears are cool enough to handle, fill cavities with quince paste and stand pears upright in dish again.
4. Boil liquid in pot over high heat until syrup and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 10-15 minutes. Pour syrup over pears and cool, basting occasionally with syrup, until cold, at least 2 hours.
5. Drizzle each pear lightly with syrup and serve with cheese wafers.
6. Pears can be chilled up to 2 days.