Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so the pears stand up. Use a melon baller to remove the core through the bottom of each pear.
Remove the peel from the orange with a paring knife, working in a spiral and creating a long strip of peel. Squeeze juice from the orange. Place the orange juice, water, orange peel, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and anise in a Dutch oven or large kettle. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Place all pears in the liquid. Return to boiling. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until pears are just tender. Cover and chill pears in the liquid for 8 hours or overnight.
Before serving, melt butter or margarine in a small saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup. Bring mixture to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in brandy or brandy extract. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
To serve, remove orange peel from fruit. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to dessert plates and drizzle with sauce. Discard poaching liquid. Makes 6 servings.