A classic French dessert, Poires Belle Helene (pwar bel ay-lehn) is a delicious mixture of poached pears, ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce may be either poured over the pears or served separately in a sauceboat.
6 oz. sugar
10 fl. oz. water
1 vanilla pod, split in half
4 large ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored H pints vanilla ice-cream
10 fl. oz. Chocolate Sauce, hot
In a large, heavy saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water with the vanilla pod over low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to moderate and boil the syrup for 2 minutes, without stirring. Remove and discard the vanilla pod.
Reduce the heat to low, add the pear halves and poach them for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are tender but still firm.
Remove the pan from the heat and set the pears aside to cool in the syrup. Transfer the pears and the syrup to a large bowl and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Chill the pears for 30 minutes.
Scoop the vanilla ice-cream into a chilled serving dish.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and, using a slotted spoon, remove the pear halves from the syrup and arrange them around the ice-cream. Discard the syrup. Pour the chocolate sauce into a warmed sauceboat or over the pears and serve immediately.