Peel the pears and cut into quarters. Remove the cores.
Put the sugar, water and white wine in an enamel or stainless steel pan over a high heat. When it comes to a boil, add the pear slices and simmer over a low heat.
Skim off the scum occasionally, and simmer for 20 minutes while spooning the liquid over the pears occasionally. Turn the heat off and add the rum. Leave to cool.
To store, pack the pears and the boiling liquid into jars that have been sterilized in boiling water. They will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so.
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Story Behind this Recipe
I've loved pears since I was a child. They are delicious fresh, but I wanted to use them when cooking both sweet and savory dishes, so I made a compote.
Since the pears will be simmered, choose pears that are on the firm side. You can serve the compote with ice cream, chop it up and put it in yogurt, or use it for hors d'oeuvres, tarts and other sweets.