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Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce for Dessert

Helen of Troy was known for her great beauty. In Greek mythology, she was Zeus and Leda’s daughter and was said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world. She wasn’t without her issues, though. Just read up on her, and you will be glad she wasn’t your next-door neighbour. She was no saint; I’ll tell you that. Continue reading here to learn about Helen of Troy and the inspiration for this poached pear with chocolate sauce recipe.

Poached Pears Chocolate Sauce

Poires Belle Hélène

David Scott Allen | Cocoa & Lavender
This decadent dessert is a great way to enjoy fresh pears. Not only is it easy to make, but it's a surefire way to end a meal with a great impression.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people


  • 4 Small Firm-Ripe Pears Bartlett or Bosc
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • Water
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (35%)
  • 1/4 tsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 oz Bittersweet Chocolate 72% cacao, chopped
  • 1 tbsp milk 1%, 2%, or whole
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Mint Leaves


  • Put the sugar, wine, and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan just big enough to fit the pears. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Peel the pears, then core them from the bottom; level the bottom so that they stand up well. Add the pears to the saucepan, and then add more water to make sure the pears are covered. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until pears are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. The pears will tend to bob around and should be turned from time to time. When they are done, remove from the heat and allow to cook in their liquid. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • To make the chocolate sauce, place the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth sauce. Add the tablespoon of milk to loosen, as it will be thick.
  • To plate, drain the pears and pat them dry. Divide the chocolate sauce among four dessert plates, off-center to one side. Place the pear in the puddle of sauce, and add some ice cream on the other side. Garnish with mint, and serve. (For my mint garnish, I kept the stem and two perfect leaves, used a tiny skewer to make a hole in the pear near the stem, then inserted the mint stem.)


Variations: If you want to flavour the pears — vanilla or ginger, for example — add it to the poaching liquid. Half a vanilla bean or several slices of fresh ginger are just about perfect. If you use the ginger, omit the mint and use some crystallized ginger for a garnish — it pairs beautifully with the chocolate sauce.
Keyword Chocolate, Dessert, Pears
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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