For the pears, combine the water, 3/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Remove the core of each pear starting from the bottom of the pear and using the small end of a melon ball cutter, leaving the stem intact. Peel the pears and cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so it will stand upright. Add the pears to the water mixture, making sure they are completely submerged. Pears may need to be weighted down with a pan lid. Poach for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from the water and let stand until cool.

For the cream, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until thick and creamy. Stir in the milk and vanilla paste. Pour into the top of a double boiler and place over hot water. Cook over medium heat until the cream thickens and has an internal temperature of 160 degrees, whisking constantly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl for a smoother cream. Place each pear onto a dessert plate. Spoon the vanilla cream on the plate and over the pear.

Serves 4.

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