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Tea-Poached Pears with Tapioca Pearls and Satsumas



Bring water to a vigorous boil in a large heavy pot, then add tapioca pearls and return to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and gently boil, covered, stirring occasionally, until tapioca pearls are almost transparent, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove from heat and stir mixture, then let stand, covered, until liquid is thick and pearls are transparent, about 45 minutes.
Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water, then drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
Cut a round of parchment paper slightly larger than the inside of a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot.
Peel 2 (3- by 1-inch) strips zest from 1 satsuma with a vegetable peeler.
Remove any white pith with a sharp knife.
Bring water, sugar, honey, cinnamon, zests, and star anise to a boil in 4- to 5-quart pot over high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Add tea bag and steep, dunking bag a few times, 3 minutes.
Squeeze bag and discard.
Meanwhile, peel pears, then quarter lengthwise and core.
Return liquid to a boil over high heat, then add pears in 1 layer and cover surface directly with round of parchment, folding up side against side of pot to seal surface completely.
Return to a boil, then cook pears at a bare simmer, turning occasionally, until just tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let pears steep in liquid, still covered, turning occasionally, until cooled completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Carefully transfer pears with a slotted spoon to a shallow dish, then strain liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into measuring cup.
Discard solids, reserving star anise and cinnamon sticks for garnish if desired.
Pour 1 cup poaching liquid over tapioca, then pour remaining liquid over pears.
Cut off peel, including all white pith, from satsumas with a sharp knife.
Cut segments free from membranes, letting them fall into a bowl.
Serve pears with tapioca pearls and poaching liquid spooned around them.
Top with satsumas.