Preheat oven to 140C. Place eight 150ml ramekins in a deep baking dish.
Combine cream, milk, sugar, star anise, ginger and the vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan over a medium heat, bring almost to the boil, then set aside.
Place egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until pale. Gradually pour hot cream mixture onto the yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until it thickens slightly; don’t let it overheat or it will curdle.
Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl. Ladle about 1/2 cup of mixture into each of the ramekins.
Hald fill the baking dish with just-boiled water, cover with a lid or some foil, then put in oven for about 40 minutes, until the custard is just set but wobbly. Remove ramekins and set aside to cool.
For the pears, combine all the ingredients except the pears in small heavy-based saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to boil.
Add the pear slices to spiced liquid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cut out a circle of baking paper the same diameter as the saucepan and place on top to keep pieces submerged. Continue to simmer until tender, about seven minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a medium-sized bowl. Boil the liquid in the saucepan until syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove whole spices from the syrup, allow to cool, then mix the syrup with the cooked pears.
To serve place a spoonful of the pear mixture on top of the set custard and garnish with chopped pistachios.