Bosc pears, available through April, become tender yet hold their shape well when poached. A spice-infused syrup gives them a pie-like flavor.
In a large saucepan, combine lemon zest, cinnamon stick, allspice, ground pepper, apple cider, and water.
Add pears. Cover with waxed paper to prevent discoloring. Bring to a simmer. Cook, turning pears occasionally, until easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove pears from liquid; transfer to large bowl.
Raise heat to high; boil cider mixture until reduced to a syrup, about 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon. Pour syrup over pears; refrigerate. To serve, slice off a sliver from the bottom of each pear (so it stands upright). Serve pears with lemon sorbet, if desired.