The alcohol in the brandy improves the flavor and boosts the aroma of the pears in this simple, elegant dessert. Just as when you season with salt, go light at first with the alcohol. A little goes a long way. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
From the story: How to spike your cooking game with hard liquor
Peel and core the pears, leaving the stems intact. Place the pears in a saucepan large enough to fit them, and add the brandy, sugar, water and spices. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, carefully stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat so the liquid gently bubbles and poach the pears until they are easily pierced with a knife. Remove from heat and carefully remove the pears using a slotted spoon.
Strain the liquid, discarding the spices. Gently simmer until the liquid is reduced to a syrup (you should have about 1 cup). Pour the warm syrup over the pears before serving.
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