Poire Belle-Héllène

Poire Belle-Héllène

By
From
PS Desserts
Serves
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

My version of Escoffier’s classic seems to be missing something at first? Where’s the chocolate sauce? On the plate, it appears very simple, but crack the warm chocolate biscuit and honey-scented chocolate sauce flows out. Then dig into the pear and you’ll discover it’s filled with vanilla-flecked ice-cream. I love surprising people.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
6 perfectly ripe pears (william, packham or bartlett)
625g caster sugar
1.5 litres water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Chocolate sauce

Quantity Ingredient
240g best-quality dark couverture chocolate, (see note)
155ml milk
50ml thickened cream, (35% milk fat)
30g honey
50g butter, cubed

Chocolate biscuit

Quantity Ingredient
115g best-quality dark couverture chocolate, (at least 70% cocoa solids)
50g butter, cubed
40g almond meal
40g rice flour
80g eggwhite
80g caster sugar
40g egg yolk, (about 2)

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Vanilla ice-cream, recently churned, (see note)

Method

  1. For the poached pears

    Follow the instructions to prepare the pears and poach them using the quantity of sugar and water given on the left. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the pan when the sugar has dissolved. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup, then refrigerate until chilled.
  2. For the chocolate sauce

    Finely chop or grate the chocolate and put in a bowl. Bring the milk and cream to the boil with the honey. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth and shiny. Add the butter, bit by bit, stirring until combined. Refrigerate the chocolate sauce until firmly set.
  3. Now put the chocolate sauce into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 cm plain-nozzle. Line a small tray with baking paper. Pipe the chocolate sauce into lines about 10 cm long.
  4. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until hard enough to cut into 5 cm lengths. Return to the freezer until needed.
  5. For the chocolate biscuit

    Cut six strips of baking paper measuring 7 cm x 5 cm. Spray the inside of six 4.5 cm diameter dessert rings with cooking oil spray and line each with a strip of paper so that the paper forms a collar above the ring. Spray again and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  6. Finely chop or grate the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let more than half of the chocolate melt before you give it a stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. When the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir to combine and keep warm.
  7. Sift together the almond meal and rice flour.
  8. Whisk the eggwhite until holding soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and whisk until shiny and holding firm peaks.
  9. Place the egg yolk in a large bowl. Add one-quarter of the eggwhite mixture to the egg yolk and whisk to combine. Add this mixture to the chocolate mixture along with the dry ingredients. Thoroughly fold through, then fold in the remaining eggwhite mixture.
  10. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 cm-plain nozzle. Pipe the mixture two-thirds of the way up the prepared rings.
  11. Remove the 5 cm lengths of chocolate sauce from the freezer and insert one into each chocolate cylinder, taking care not to touch the base. Pipe in more mixture to fill each cylinder. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
  12. Remove the cylinders from the freezer 1 hour before serving, but keep in the fridge.
  13. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the cylinders in the middle of the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes before unmoulding.
  14. To serve

    Drain the pears on paper towel and discard the poaching syrup.
  15. Gently slip a palette knife underneath each chocolate biscuit and lift off the rings. Remove the paper collar and place each biscuit on a serving plate.
  16. To finish, fill a large piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle with the ice-cream and pipe the ice-cream into the cavity of each pear. Place next to the biscuits and serve immediately.

Notes on chocolate

  • The quality of chocolate available has improved enormously. Gone are the days when “cooking” chocolate was used for cakes and mousses. Today couverture chocolate is readily found, even at the humble corner store.

Note

  • You can make the poached pears, chocolate sauce and ice-cream ahead of time (but churn the ice-cream close to serving), but the biscuits need to be baked when you’re ready to eat them.

Note

  • Try to churn the ice-cream close to serving otherwise it will be too difficult to pipe. If it is too firm, place it in the fridge to soften a little.
Tags:
PS
Desserts
Philippa
Phillipa
Sibley
sweet
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