Simple syrup is a handy thing to have in the sweet kitchen. I like mine flavored with lemon and vanilla. (Vanilla adds a floral, tropical scent which I adore.)
It is in fact simple: equal parts by volume sugar and water. Increase ratio of water for poaching pears.
To use for fruit salad:
¾ c sugar
¾ c water
Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Raise to boil, then simmer one minute.
Remove from heat and add:
1-2 slices lemon peel (taken off with peeler, pith removed w/ knife)
1-1/2” vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Pour into heat-proof dish (Pyrex measuring cup is good)
Let cool to room temp. Scrape vanilla bean with knife to put seeds into liquid; put all back in, probably removing lemon peel then or later.
Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Baranbaum, Pie and Pastry Bible, p 260