1. Put apricots and 1/2 cup water into a saucepan and set over low heat; cover, and cook slowly about 25 minutes, or until tender. Puree through a sieve and set aside.
2. Combine remaining water with sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to boiling and boil about 5 minutes, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
3. Rinse, halve, and carefully remove the core from the pears. Poach them in the syrup over medium heat, simmering about 5 minutes, or until just tender. Carefully remove from syrup. Allowing 2 halves per serving, spoon into individual dishes.
4. Blend the apricot puree into the syrup. Simmer, stirring until sauce is desired thickness. Spoon apricot sauce over pears.
5. Heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup brandy. Ignite and pour while flaming over the pears.