Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pears Helene

This french dessert has become a great sweet for my daughter and me. She loves pears and ice cream but, together she seems to love them even more. According to Wikipedia, Poire belle Hélène is a french dessert made from pears poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice, chocolate syrup, and crystallized violets. It was created around 1870 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach. Simpler versions replace poached pears with canned pears and crystallized violets with sliced almonds. I have seen some versions with alcohol, some with canned pears and others with almond cookies. All are great. My version of pears Helene is simple works well with common things that I have in my kitchen. Try one and see which way works for you.

For 2 pears: Poach your pears by combining 2 cups of water, 1/2 sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla in a large saucepan and boil for several minutes. Then add the pears, and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. (Sometimes a hard pear will require as much as 30-50 minutes cooking time.) Drain and cool.

For the Chocolate sauce, mix semi sweet chocolate with unsalted butter or heavy cream. Melt in a double broiler.

I have served mine Pears Helene with a scope of Hagan Daus Frozen Vanilla Yogurt. (I did however, forget to add slivered almonds which are common to serve over top).

Has Anyone Tried this one in a Restaurant?

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