I think of Creme Anglaise as the mother sauce of the pastry kitchen. Just like French food has the five mother sauces from which everything departs, knowing how to make a Creme Anglaise is to me the beginning of all things pastry. I feel this way because tempering, the only necessary skill to make it properly, is a recurring skill needed to make ice cream, to laminate doughs, and even to serve a dessert at an appealing temperature.
Tempering in the kitchen simply means to slowly and gently bring ingredients to a different temperature. That’s what we’re doing here: slowly adding a hot liquid to raw egg yolks, stirring it in bit by bit, so as to not make them scrambled eggs.
As for the poached pears, they get better and better as they sit in their poaching liquid. Consider making them a day ahead if you have the time. If you don't want to use wine and rum, you can poach them in Earl Grey tea. Use 2 teabags and add some ginger as well.
For the pears:
16 ounces of red wine (2 cups)
4 ounces of water (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 cup rum (or bourbon)