Desserts

Poires Belle Hélène (Poached Pears)

Poires Belle Hélène is a French dessert con­sist­ing of pears poached in sug­ar syrup, served with melt­ed choco­late. It was cre­at­ed by French chef Auguste Escoffi­er in the 19th cen­tu­ry, and named after the operetta La Belle Hélène by Offen­bach. Poires Belle Hélène is a sim­ple, yet refined dessert. Often served with vanil­la ice cream, enhanc­ing the cold-warm con­trast even fur­ther, it is a deli­cious dessert that is sure to impress your guests, and yet, it is very easy to make.

poires belle hélène

Poires Belle-Hélène Recipe

Recipe in French here. (Please note, I made some changes to it.)

Print Recipe
Poires Belle Hélène
poires belle hélène
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 min­utes
Cook Time 40 min­utes
Serv­ings
peo­ple
Ingre­di­ents
For poached pears
For melt­ed choco­late
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 min­utes
Cook Time 40 min­utes
Serv­ings
peo­ple
Ingre­di­ents
For poached pears
For melt­ed choco­late
poires belle hélène
Instruc­tions
  1. Using a veg­etable peel­er, peel the pears, remov­ing the skin but leav­ing the stem. Squeeze a tiny bit of lemon juice on the pears.
    pears for poires belle hélène
  2. Fill a pot with 1 qt of water, 1/2 cup of sug­ar, and 1 tea­spoon of vanil­la extract. Warm it up on the stove, stir­ring from time to time. When the water starts boil­ing, place the pears in the boil­ing water, and let them poach for 30 min­utes on medi­um heat. Check to see if the pears are ready by using the tip of a knife. Pears should be soft enough that the tip of the knife goes right in. If the pears are still too hard, let them poach for longer.
    poaching pears
  3. Take the pears out of the water, and place each pear in an indi­vid­ual small serv­ing bowl. Let the pears cool down. (Tip: If a pear is not stand­ing upright, use a knife to flat­ten the bot­tom of the pear, so as to make it stand upright.) If you wish to remove the core of the pears, now is a good time to do it. How­ev­er, you need to make sure the pears can still stand upright with the core removed, which is why I pre­fer to keep the core.
    pear after poaching
  4. In the mean­time, pre­pare the melt­ed choco­late. Cut the choco­late in lit­tle pieces, and place it in a pot togeth­er with 3 table­spoons of water. Put the pot in a big­ger pot of hot water so as to melt the choco­late in a bain-marie (this allows for slow cook­ing as the hot water from the big­ger recep­ta­cle is what warms up the choco­late con­tained in the small­er pot). Stir the choco­late, and let it melt slow­ly (about 5–10 min­utes).
    melting chocolate au bain marie
  5. Pour the melt­ed choco­late on the pears. Serve with vanil­la ice cream on the side. You can also place sliced almonds on the pears, if you wish. Enjoy right away, when the choco­late is hot. Bon Appétit!
    poires belle hélène
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Bon Appétit!

French Mom

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Recipe Name
Poires Belle-Hélène
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