Place all ingredients in a large stockpot. If you are using a vanilla bean, add it now.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, cooking for one hour.
Gently mash the pears and lower the heat to a simmer and cook another 2 hours.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla if you are using pure or vanilla extract.
Strain through a mesh strainer if you don't mind very small pieces of pears (I did this). If you want it to be perfectly clear, strain through cheesecloth.
That is it! You can serve it right away, or allow it to cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!