Maple and Wine Poached Pears
2-1/2 cups pinot noir or other light, fruity red wine
3/4 cup pure Vermont maple syrup, preferably Grade B
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods
4 firm pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, peeled and cored
Place wine, maple syrup, sugar in a large pot with the cinnamon stick and star anise pods and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the pears, and cover, cooking for about 6 minutes. If pears were not submerged, turn pears and continue cooking, covered, for an additional 6-10 minutes. Cook until pears are easily pierced with a fork.
Remove pears with a slotted spoon and cook liquid until reduced by half. Serve pears with iced cream or whipped cream, spooning the reduced liquid over the pears.