Spiced Poire Hélène Spiced Poire Hélène

Author: Canadian Living

This classic French pear dessert was created in honour of the operetta “La Belle Helene.” Here, the warmth of spice replaces the traditional vanilla. To develop and deepen flavour, this recipe requires overnight refrigeration. Don't throw out any remaining poaching syrup; use it to sweeten and spice up hot chocolate and coffee.

  • Portion size 6 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine: October 2009


  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 chili peppers
  • 2 cinnamon sticks broken
  • 2 star anise broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 1 piece (1 inch/25 cm) gingerroot sliced
  • 3 Bosc pears
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
Spiced Chocolate Sauce:
  • 1 bar (100 g/3-1/2 oz) bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream


In saucepan, bring 4 cups (1 L) water, sugar, chili peppers, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns and ginger to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Peel, halve and core pears; add to saucepan. Press parchment paper onto pears; simmer until tender but firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in syrup; cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove † cup (75 mL) poaching liquid and reserve for sauce.

Spiced Chocolate Sauce: Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Bring reserved poaching syrup and cream to boil; pour over chocolate and whisk until melted. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate chocolate sauce and pears with syrup in separate airtight containers for up to 24 hours.)

Scoop 1/2 cup (125 mL) ice cream into each of 6 dessert dishes. Top each with pear half; drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Nutritional facts Per serving: about

  • Sodium 58 mg
  • Protein 4 g
  • Calories 409.0
  • Total fat 17 g
  • Potassium 225 mg
  • Cholesterol 42 mg
  • Saturated fat 10 g
  • Total carbohydrate 63 g


  • Iron 6.0
  • Folate 4.0
  • Calcium 10.0
  • Vitamin A 11.0
  • Vitamin C 5.0
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Spiced Poire Hélène