Pears Hèléne

Updated February 23, 2016

This classic dessert combines poached pears with a decadent chocolate sauce.

Prepare ahead:

The pears and sauce can be refrigerated in separate containers for up to 3 days.Good with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Leftovers: The leftover syrup, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days, can be tossed with fresh fruit for a salad.

4 servings

Preparation Time10 min

Preparation Time - Text10 mins

Cooking Time20 min

Cooking Time - Text20

Cooking Methodpoaching


Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturechocolatey, fruity, sweet

Type of Dishchocolate dessert, fruit


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 4 ripe Bosc pears
  • 5 oz (130g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  1. Bring the sugar and 1¼ cups water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the vanilla bean.

  2. Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached, and place in the saucepan. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the pears, turning them occasionally, about 20 minutes, until tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a dish and let cool. Remove the vanilla bean (which can be rinsed, dried and used again) and reserve the poaching syrup.

  3. To make the chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of very hot water. Heat the cream and ¼ cup of the poaching syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until smooth.

  4. Serve each pear in a shallow bowl, topped a drizzle of the sauce. Serve immediately, with the rest of the sauce on the side.



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