Vanilla Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream (a.k.a. "Poire Belle Helene")

Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
35 min
45 min
25 min

6 servings

  • Vanilla Poached Pears:
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 firm pears such as Bosc or Bartlett
  • Chocolate Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 quart store-bought vanilla-bean ice cream
  • Wafer cookies, for serving
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both the seeds and the pod to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.

  • Peel the pears. Reduce the poaching liquid to a simmer and add the pears. Cook until just tender (the tip of a paring knife will go through the flesh of a pear with just a little resistance), about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the pears in the poaching liquid, until completely cooled, about 45 minutes.

  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Put the chocolate and butter into a medium-size bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy.

  • Serve the pears with a scoop of ice cream, a little pear-poaching syrup and warm chocolate sauce drizzled over the top. Garnish with a wafer cookie and serve.

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    Recipe courtesy of Melissa d'Arabian