To a large saucepan, combine the vermouth, water and sugar. Heat over medium until the sugar dissolves and a light boil has started. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, pinch of salt and pear halves. Turn the heat down to a simmer and then cover the pot; cook for 20-30 minutes, until the pears are tender when poked with the tines of a fork. Remove from the heat and prepare the sabayon. Alternatively, you can make the poached pears the day ahead and store the pears in their syrup, covered, in the refrigerator.