Take some sound pears, peel them carefully and, once peeled, prick them all over with a needle; stand them in water to which you add a little sugar and half a vanilla pod; the water should just cover them. Bring to the boil and finish in a moderate oven till they are fairly soft; they should remain whole and white. Remove them and keep them hot in a metal dish.
The finishing touch should really be given in the dining-room. Have some liqueur (about a liqueur glassful to each pear) slightly warmed, it will burn more easily. Pour it over the pears, set it alight, and serve just when the flames are dying out. The best liqueur with pears is a mixture of Maraschino and brandy.