In a deep saucepan combine sugar, 1 cup water, anise, cinnamon, vanilla, and saffron. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add pears and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Poach pears, basting frequently with syrup, until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer pears to a plate, bring poaching liquid to a boil, and boil until reduced to a syrup. Set aside.