Pears Helene

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

Recipe courtesy of "The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World" by Victoria Blashford-Snell, copyright 2008. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Pears Helene

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    1/2 cup sugar 5 oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 1/2 cup heavy cream
    4 ripe Bosc pears


    Prep: 10 min Total:
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    • 1

      Bring the sugar and 1 1/4 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 1/4 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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