Peel the pears carefully, leaving the stem intact. Hollow out the bottom with a melon baller or a teaspoon and remove the pips.
In a large saucepan make a syrup with the water, the 350 g (12 oz) sugar and the bay leaves and cloves. When it comes to the boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and add the pears. Cook them for 10-15 minutes, turning them over a couple of times. Remove from the heat and leave them to cool, before transferring them to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
To make the cream, heat the milk and the cream with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Lightly whip the eggs in a bowl with the flour and the 80 g (3 oz) of sugar. Just before the milk mixture comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and add a ladleful to the egg mixture, whisking to avoid cooking the eggs. Add all the egg mixture back to the milk pan and return it to a very low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until it thickens. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl, whisking to ensure that it remains smooth. Remove the vanilla pod and save it for your vanilla sugar*.
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water, stirring to ensure a smooth mixture.
Spoon the cooled cream onto individual serving plates and sprinkle with the amaretti crumbs. Put a pear onto the custard and spoon a teaspoon of brandy over each pear. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the pears and serve immediately.