Pour the wine and measured water into a saucepan that will hold the pears snugly. Cut the orange rind into thin strips, then add to the pan with the orange juice, spices, bay leaves and sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks on, then add them to the red wine syrup. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, turning the pears several times so that they cook and colour evenly.
Lift the pears out of the pan and put on a plate. Mix the cornflour with a little water in a cup, then stir into the wine syrup and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened and smooth. Add the pears and leave to cool.
Transfer to shallow dishes with a rim and serve with spoonfuls of crème fraîche or cream.