Preheat the oven to 250 oF / 130 oC.
Peel the pears neatly, leaving the stalks on, and stand them in a large casserole.
In a saucepan bring the cider, sugar, split vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks to the boil.
Pour this over the pears, cover the casserole and bake very slowly for about 3 hours, turning the pears half-way through the cooking time.
When the pears are cooked, transfer them to a serving bowl and cool.
Pour the liquid into a saucepan, discarding the vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks.
Mix the arrowroot with a little cold water to a smooth paste, then add to the saucepan with the liquid. Bring to the boil, stirring till the mixture has thickened slightly to a syrup.
Pour it over the pears, allow to cool a little, then baste each pear with a good coating of the syrup.
Place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly and serve sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds and whipped cream.
From: Felicity and Roald Dahl, Memories with Food at Gipsy House, Viking, Penguin 1991, ISBN 0-670-83462-9
Typed for you by Rene Gagnaux @ 2:301/212.19 (or 2:301/707.20)