Split the vanilla bean open in half and lay it flat on a cutting surface with a sharp knife slice down the middle (lengthwise) and then run the knife down the length to scrap up the seeds.
To a pot or saucepan, add the water, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and star anise and heat on a gentle simmer (medium heat) until the sugar has fully dissolved.
When the sugar has dissolved, add the sliced pears to the saucepan. Most of the pears should be covered with the syrup/liquid. Let simmer on low heat.
After 1-2 minutes, drizzle some of the liquid with a spoon over the pears if they are not immersed in the liquid. If the liquid evaporates too fast, slowly add a bit more water.
The pears are ready when they are soft but not falling apart. This can be 5-7 minutes for ripe pears and up to 15 minutes for firmer pears.
Serve warm or place in the fridge and serve cold. These pears are delicious with breakfast and dessert recipes such as pancakes, ice cream or yogurt.