Published by Martha Stewart in January 2009
The crisp, juicy texture and sweet, almost-floral flavor of Asian pears require little accompaniment. These pears do not soften when ripe; choose uniformly firm, unblemished fruit when shopping.
2 medium Asian pears, cored and quartered
1 piece (2 inches) ginger, thinly sliced
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
4 cups water
Store-bought cookies, such as Jules Destrooper wafers, for serving (optional)
Cut each pear quarter lengthwise into 4 slices, and place in a large bowl. Bring ginger, vanilla seeds and pod, sugar, and water to a boil in a small saucepan for 3 minutes. Pour mixture over pears. Press a piece of parchment directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Discard vanilla pod and ginger. Divide pears among 4 bowls, and serve with cookies or wafers on the side if desired.