Place the water,wine, vinegar, sugar, star anise and pepper in a large pan and bring to the boil.
When the vanilla seeds have been scraped from the pod, add the empty skin to add to the flavour.
Peel the pears and scoop out the core and seeds with a melon baller. Add the pears to the pan keeping a cartouche of baking paper on top and a small plate to ensure that the pears are covered by the liquid.
Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the pears are firm but tender. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
After the pears have been removed, sieve out the spices and reduce to a syrup consistancy.
Rub together all the ingredients for the crumble to make a rough, slightly sticky, crumbly mix. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper, but don't press down. /bake at 170c for about 15 minutes, until golden around the edges and lightly golden on top. Leave to cool before breaking up gently.
Serve 1 pear per person on a pool of the sauce with the crumble scattered over.
Remove the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the mascarpone.
Whisk in the icing sugar to gain a smooth creamy consistancy.
Spoon a dollop of mascarpone , place the pear on top and sprinkle some of the roughly crumbled almond mix.
Drizzle some of the syrup around the pear.
«If you leave the poached pear to cool down in the liquor overnight, the colour will infuse all the way through to the core, just be sure to take the pears out until the liquid has cooled somewhat otherwise they will overcook.»