Poires Belle Hélène


  • Serves 8 people

  • 400 gm caster sugar
  • 200 ml dessert wine
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 1 piece of thinly peeled lemon rind, plus juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 pears, such as beurre Bosc or William Bartlett
  • To serve: crystallised violets (optional)
  • To serve: vanilla ice-cream
  • Chocolate sauce
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids)
  • 150 ml pouring cream
01   Stir sugar, dessert wine, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds, lemon peel and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add pears, cover with a round of baking paper and poach until tender (25-35 minutes). Turn off heat, cool pears in liquid, strain (discard liquid) and set aside.
02   Meanwhile, for chocolate sauce, stir chocolate and cream in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth (2-5 minutes). Pour warm chocolate sauce over poached pears, scatter with crystallised violets and serve with ice-cream.
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