Poire Belle Hélène is an indulgent dessert, made of poached pears with dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. This post was first published on October 22nd, 2011. I’ve recently updated the photos. This post contains affiliate links.
The first time I went to Paris, was just after college and I was backpacking through Europe alone. I ended up there sometime in early autumn.
One night, I treated myself to dinner at the famous four star restaurant, “La Coupole”, on the Boulevard Montparnasse. The romantic, artsy side of me wanted to sit in the same booths as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Henry Miller and Picasso.
I don’t remember what I had for dinner, but for dessert, I had Poire Belle Hélène, a poached pear on top of French vanilla ice cream topped with dark chocolate sauce.
Maybe it’s because I was in Paris, the city of romance, that I think Poire Belle Hélène is one of the most romantic desserts. It’s not very complicated, especially if you choose to use pre-made chocolate sauce. Since autumn is pear season, it put me in the mood for this elegant dessert. Sigh! Perhaps the next time I go, I won’t be alone!
- 1 bottle of sweet white wine like a riesling or champagne. I used Prosecco.
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 sugar
- 4 firm pears such as Bosc or Bartlett
- Peel pears up to the stem and core from the bottom
- Bring water, Prosecco, and sugar to a boil in a large dutch oven or sauce pan, add pears and reduce heat to low.
- Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until pears are tender, but not too soft.
- Remove pears and refrigerate until ready to use.
How to Poach Pears
Peel pears up to the stem and core from the bottom.
Bring water, Prosecco, and sugar to a boil in a large dutch oven or sauce pan. Then, add pears and reduce heat to low.
Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
- 8 oz. chopped dark semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup hot water
- Combine all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler.
- Simmer on a medium low heat and stir until chocolate is smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add:
- teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
- Remaining chocolate sauce will keep about a week in a covered container in the fridge.
- To serve, put a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream and 1 poached pear in a dish. Drizzle with chocolate sauce.