From: Pastry Chef Patti Dellamonica Bauler, One Market Restaurant, San Francisco.
Yield: 4 servings.
Peel, halve and core the pears. Rub lemon juice on all surfaces. Place in a nonreactive bowl and set aside. Combine both sugars, spice and vanilla bean seeds (reserving bean). Pour half of the sugar mixture over the pears and rub in gently. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours (can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 hours).
Preheat oven to 400°F. Warm saute pan over medium-high heat and place 1 Tbsp. butter in pan. When melted and sizzling, add 4 pear halves, cut-side down. Reduce heat and continue to saute until pear is lightly brown. Place pears in an oven-proof dish along with pan juices. Repeat with remaining pears. Add orange zest, juice and cider to bowl that the pears were marinated in, and whisk to combine. Pour half of the liquid onto the pears and sprinkle with spiced sugar mixture. Place in oven and cook until fork-tender, checking occasionally to make sure sugar is not burning (add a few Tbsp. water if this occurs).
In a clean saute pan, warm remaining liquid from pan and adjust to taste. Add last Tbsp. butter and rum (if using). Serve pears warm with sauce and ice cream, if desired.