Cooking the pears in delicately floral Muscat wine makes for a light, elegant dessert--and leaves plenty of room for friends' pies, says Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California.
Peel pears, halve lengthwise (leaving stems on half of pieces), and core.
Put pears in a 5- to 6-qt. pot. Add wine and sugar. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into pot, then add pod and water to barely cover pears (3 to 4 1/2 cups).
Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat; then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until pears are as soft as butter when pierced with a knife, 30 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer pears from pot to a large, wide bowl. Boil syrup, uncovered, over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 cups, 30 to 35 minutes; reduce heat if pan starts to scorch. Pour syrup over pears.
Spoon 1/4 cup crème fraîche into each dessert bowl and add a pear half to each. Stir syrup and drizzle over pears. Tuck in rose geranium leaves.
Make ahead: Through step 4, up to 1 day, chilled airtight.
Servings Serves 12
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.