Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 firm but ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, halved and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
6 tablespoons honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Amaretto
Gently toss pears with lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside to prepare the poaching liquid.
Combine water, wine and honey in a medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from inside of vanilla bean and add beans and seeds to the pan. Heat over medium until honey dissolves. Carefully add pears and cover with a round of parchment paper. Reduce heat to bring liquid to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, gently turning pears once in the middle of the cooking time.
Remove pears to a large bowl. Reduce poaching liquid to about 3/4 cup by cooking for a few more minutes. Cool this syrup, then pour over pears. Cover pears and refrigerate till cold, at least 8 hours.
Before serving, whip mascarpone cheese with sugar and Amaretto. Add 1/4 cup poaching liquid and whip till soft peaks from.
To serve, thinly slice pears lengthwise from a spot just below the stem to the wider end, leaving pear attached at stem end. Fan pears over individual serving plates and serve with a dollop of mascarpone cream, a drizzle of syrup and a berry and sprig of mint if desired.