For poaching liquid: 1-1/2 cups sugar 1/2 cinnamon stick 6 whole cloves 1/2 vanilla bean Zest of 1 lemon
For pears: 4 pears 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped 1/4 cup raisins 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
For chocolate glaze: 8 ounces gf semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (we used Scharffen Berger's) 2 Tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
For poaching liquid: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and add 1 quart of water and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
For pears: Peel pears and core them from the bottom leaving the stems in tact. Reserve the cores. Stand the pears upright in the poaching liquid and simmer for 12 minutes or until pears are tender but not mushy. Turn off heat and let pears cool in the poaching liquid. In a small bowl, combine apricots and rasins. Measure out 1 cup of poaching liquid and add it to the apricot mixture. Let stand for 1 hour. Meanwhile make the chocolate glaze. Place chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until half melted and remove from heat. Continue stirring until completely melted. Drain the pears and drain the apricot mixture. Mix the apricot mixture with the pecans and stuff into the pears leavine 1/2" from the bottom. Plug each pear with the reserved cores. Stand pears upright on a baking sheet, leaving ample room between them. Using a spoon, slowly pour the chocolate glaze onto each pear so that is coats the pears as much as possible without pooling the chocolate onto the baking sheet. Let the chocolate set for an hour. To serve, carefully transfer to individual plates by sliding a spatula underneathe each pear.