1 Cut your chosen fruit into equal-sized pieces (leaving the peel on any apples and pears), and place in a bowl.
2 Put the vanilla pod and all the remaining ingredients for the syrup into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool.
3 Pour the cooled syrup over the fruits, cover the bowl and keep refrigerated for 24 hours.
4 Set the oven at its lowest temperature (50-60°C) with the fan running, if your oven has one.
5 Remove the fruits from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place on the lined trays, leaving a gap between the pieces. Place the trays in the oven for the fruits to dehydrate. This will take 12-18 hours, so overnight is best.
6 To serve, lightly whisk the cream and sugar with a slug of Calvados until it is just dropping off the spoon. Divide the fruit between 6 bowls and serve with the cream.
After removing the fruit from the syrup, you can keep the syrup in a covered container in the fridge and use it again (it will keep for up to a month).
For a dinner party, bake a batch of Vanilla Madeleines and roll them in an autumnal spice such as cinnamon mixed with caster sugar, or in vanilla sugar.