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Poached Pears Try French Classic Poires Belle Helene

Poached pears might be one of the easiest French desserts to serve. The preparation time is short and there is quite a variety of combinations you can create. It’s a simple dessert to master and can be easily altered to suit your tastes.

To better understand where the dessert “Poris Belle Helene” comes from it is important to know a brief history. Renowned chef Auguste Escoffier invented the dessert in the 1800s naming it after Jacques Offenbach’s Operetta La Belle Hélène. Hortense Catherine Schneider, who played the role of Helen of Troy, was one of the great stars of operettas in the 1800s and appeared in many of Offenbach’s other operettas. She was a darling of French society and rumoured to be the mistress of King Edward VII. La belle Hélène was so popular that several dishes named in her honor appeared on menus across Paris (tournedos belle Helene, Sole belle Helene, etc.).


Poached Pears Chocolate Sauce

Poires Belle Helene

blankChef François de Mélogue
A classic French dessert composed of pears poached in a vanilla syrup served with vanilla ice cream then drizzled with a hot chocolate sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 4 People


  • 1- quart Water
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Vanilla Beans cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 Cardamom Pods crushed (optional)
  • 1 Star Anise optional
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick optional
  • 4 Pears peeled and cored through the bottom with a melon baller
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 3 ounces Bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Scoops of Vanilla Ice cream


To Poach the Pears:

  • Bring water, sugar, and vanilla to a rapid boil in a non-reactive pan. Add the optional spices if you are using them. Add the pears to the syrup and cook over medium-low heat until they are easily pierced with a paring knife. Cool and store the pears in the syrup until ready to serve. The cooking time varies wildly on how ripe or unripe your pears are. Mine generally take about 10 to 20 minutes.

To make the Chocolate Sauce:

  • Bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Use immediately. If the sauce is too thick add a touch more cream.

To serve Pears Belle Helene:

  • Put a poached pear on a plate along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pour the hot chocolate sauce over the pears at the table. Enjoy.


Save the leftover syrup to poach more pears; to make cocktails; to make a sorbet.
Keyword Chocolate, Ice Cream, Pears
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Chocolate Tart with Caramelised Pears
Flaky tart pastry crust with a layer of chocolate, sweet pear slices and drizzled chocolate glaze.
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Poached Pears with Berry Purée
This recipe can be prepared with any variety of pear that you like. The best is to select fruit that has a large bottom (better for filling with the "surprise"). Prepare the pears and the filling in advance, a day or two ahead of serving.
Check out this recipe
Stuffed Poached Pears
Roasted Pears with Crème Anglaise
Serve one to two pear halves per person, adjust the proportions after deciding the serving size. In this case, I used 1/2 pear per person, but it doesn't hurt to make extra.
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Winter Dinner Party Menu Roasted Pears with Crème Anglaise
Rosé Poached Pears
This dessert is delicious either served warm or chilled. Once cooked the pears will keep covered in the fridge for three days.
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Mirabeau Rosé Poached Pears Fall Recipe

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Chef François de Mélogue

Chef François de Mélogue

François de Mélogue grew up in a very French household in Chicago. His earliest attempts at cookery began with the filleting of his sister’s goldfish at age two and a braised rabbit dish made with his pet rabbits by age seven. He eventually stopped cooking his pets and went to the highly esteemed New England Culinary Institute, where he graduated top of his class in 1985.

Chef François has over 30 years of cross-cultural culinary experience and brings an impressive culinary history and a unique Mediterranean cooking style. After graduating top of his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, Chef François began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York and Joel Robuchon Gastronomie restaurant in Paris, before opening award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in his hometown of Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.

Chef François resides in St Albans, Vermont with his wife Lisa and ten-year-old son Beaumont, who has proclaimed himself the family saucier. Chef François' latest publication French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian takes you on a culinary journey well beyond the streets of Paris. Francois is a professional photographer specializing in food/product photography, real estate photography and shooting rural landscapes of Vermont and France. Explore his work on

Take a look at his website Simple French Cooking filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photos. Also follow Francois on Medium for more tempting dishes Pistou and Pastis.

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