1 (750-ml) bottle white wine, Riesling or sparkling cider
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
4 firm Bosc pears, peeled leaving stem intact
1/2 cup pitted prunes or dried apple rings
3/4 cup dried figs
3/4 cup dried apricots
zest of 1/2 each orange and lemon, julienned
1 small cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
Place the wine or cider, water, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and cloves into a 4 quart saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
Core the pears from the bottom with a melon baller. Decrease the heat to medium low. Place the pears on their side into the liquid. Add the zests and simmer for 20 minutes carefully turning them once if not completely covered by the liquid.
Remove any hard stems from the figs. Add figs, apricots and prunes. Poach 5-10 minutes, until the pears and dried fruit are tender. Remove pears and fruit with a slotted spoon and refrigerate, pears standing upright.
Remove the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and cloves from the saucepan. Increase the heat to high and reduce the syrup to approximately 1 cup. Place the syrup in a heatproof container and place in the refrigerator until cool, approximately 1 hour.
Remove from the refrigerator, spoon the sauce over the fruit and serve.