For a more complex spicy flavour, add star anise and black peppercorns to the syrup.
Pour the port into a large pan with
600ml water, add the sugar and
cinnamon, then heat until the sugar
dissolves. Add the pears, bring to the boil,
then cover and simmer for 20-30 mins
until tender all the way through. They
are ready when a cocktail stick can be
easily pushed through each one.
Depending on the size of your pan, you
may need to cook the pears in 2 batches
using the same port syrup, or turn the
pears several times as they cook so they
become an even colour. Let the pears
cool in their syrup, preferably overnight
to allow the syrup to really stain them.
Will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
Check the consistency of the syrup.
If it is very thin, boil it in a pan to reduce
the amount and concentrate the flavour.
To serve, whip the cream with the
sugar and vanilla until it holds its shape,
then fold in the meringue. Sprinkle with
the cinnamon. Arrange the pears in a
shallow dish and spoon over the syrup.
Allow guests to help themselves to both
pears and cream.