Peel the pears, leaving the stalks intact,
then take the core out from the bottom
of each by using a small sharp knife or
a melon baller. Flatten the bottom by
slicing off a little bit so that it will sit
upright when served. Put the pears into
a saucepan with the zests, vanilla pod,
sugar, cinnamon, white wine and 600ml
water, then bring to the boil. Lower the
heat and poach for about 20-25 mins
until they are cooked all the way through,
but are not so soft that they will fall
apart. Leave to cool in the liquid. Can
be made and chilled a day ahead.
When cool, take the pears out, strain
out the cinnamon, zest and vanilla pod
(keep the pod, allow it to dry, then pop it
into a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar),
then pour the syrup back in the pan.
Boil until reduced by half to a thin syrup.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt
the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of
simmering water. Warm the cream, milk
and butter in a heavy based pan. Stir this
into the melted chocolate, set aside and
keep warm. Can be made and chilled
a day ahead. If the sauce cools and
thickens too much, warm it again gently
over a pan of simmering water or for
30 secs in a microwave. Serve the pears
with plenty of syrup, chocolate sauce
and good-quality vanilla ice cream.