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Poached Pears Chocolate Sauce

Poires Belle Hélène

David Scott Allen
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 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
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
  • 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
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