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valentines-day-recipe-pears-belle-heleneIf you are looking for an easy-to-prepare surprise for your significant other on Valentine’s Day, look no further.

Poire Belle Hélène is a classic French dessert that consists of poached pears served with chocolate syrup. Both vanilla ice cream and crystallized violets are used in many of the classic versions. This special Valentine dessert will make a beautiful presentation and is sure to satisfy your sweetheart. It was named after the operetta La belle Hélène around 1870 by Auguste Escoffier.

Pears Belle Hélène Recipe

  • 4-5 firm Bartlett, Bosc or Forelle (small) pears
  • 1-pint water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

Chocolate Sauce:

  • 6 oz. high quality chocolate
  • ½ pint water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar


Put sugar and the half pint of water together in a pan and heat gently until sugar is dissolved. Then bring to a boil and boil steadily to 220 degrees on a candy/sugar thermometer. Peel the pears and carefully core them from the flower or upper end. Lift them into the syrup, add vanilla bean, cover pan and poach gently for twenty to thirty minutes until tender. Test doneness with a knife or skewer inserted in the thickest part of the fruit; the pears are poached when they are just cooked through, but not completely soft. Cool in the syrup.

Break up the chocolate and add it to the water in a pan. Simmer until chocolate is dissolved, then add the granulated sugar. When the mixture is dissolved bring to the boil and simmer with pan uncovered until the sauce is syrupy and will coat the back of the spoon.

To serve, drain the pears thoroughly, coat with the chocolate sauce and serve. Both vanilla ice cream and crystallized violets are optional, but definitely festive.

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