At our family Christmas tea, the tea room we visited served a similar pear dish for the salad course. Everyone loved the sweet pears.
This recipe is for only four pears. You can double it if you have a big and deep pan in which to poach the pears. Make sure to turn the pears often while poaching to ensure they soften all the way through.
1 ½ cups Muscat or other sweet white wine
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
4 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
4 firm ripe pears, peeled
Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Using apple corer, carefully remove cores from pears at base, leaving pears whole and stems intact. Add to wine and poach until tender, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Transfer pears to serving dishes. Garnish each pear with 1 bay leaf and 1 whole clove. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to ½ cup, about 20 minutes. Pour syrup over pears and refrigerate. Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead.