Pear Belle Helene

This classic French recipe features a poached pear served with vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce like a sundae.



  • 1 liter water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 4 Anjou pears, peeled


  • 4 ounces dark sweet chocolate
  • 0.5 cup whipping cream


  • 1.5 cups French vanilla ice cream
  • 0.25 cup sliced almonds or hazelnut, to decorate
  • Fresh mint leaves, to decorate


  1. Combine water, sugar and vanilla bean in a large saucepan. 
  2. Bring to boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Peel the pears but leave the stems attached. 
  4. Remove the seeds with a melon baller from the bottom. 
  5. Add pears, reduce heat and cook gently until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. 
  6. Refrigerate pears in syrup for 24 hours.
  7. Remove vanilla bean from syrup. 
  8. Boil cream and add the chocolate. 
  9. Stir continuously until smooth. Remove from heat.
  10. To serve, place a scoop of ice cream in a bowl. 
  11. Place a pear alongside the ice cream and spoon chocolate sauce over top. 
  12. Garnish with sliced almonds or hazelnut and a mint leaf.