Gently simmer pears in a medium pot with the apple juice, honey, vanilla scrapings, and pepper. Simmer for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Remove pears and arrange on a platter. Boil down the liquid until syrupy. Spoon the syrup over the pears. Sauté the vanilla slivers in the hot butter until highly aromatic. Spoon over the pears and serve. Pears can be stored in the unreduced syrup overnight, and the dish finished the following day.