Poached pear, famous as the classic French dessert “Belle Helene” (French: Poire belle Hélène) is perfect for ending a dinner party on a high note without having to spend hours in the kitchen. The pears can be poached up to two days ahead and kept in the poaching stock in the fridge until serving. Traditionally they’re served with vanilla ice cream, which is especially great in the summer. However, I love having poached pear with the irresistible vanilla cashew cream, which also goes really well with baked plums and baked apples.
Two ingredients give this dessert the oriental touch: cardamom and rose water. The pears sop up these two flavors, with are often used for Persian desserts, and will taste like 1001 nights while dwindling in your mouth. If you’d rather make the classic (French) version, simply substitute the spices with vanilla and cinnamon (further suggestion in the recipe notes).
Poached pear is the perfect dessert to impress your guests without having to spend hours in the kitchen. While traditionally served with vanilla ice cream, "Belle Helene" also goes really well with the irresistible vanilla cashew cream.
- 1 cup raw cane sugar (200 g)
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp rosewater extract (or 4 tbsp rosewater)
- 1 lemon
- 4 pears
- 1 cup cashews (150 g)
- 7 tbsp water (100 ml)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or extract
- a dash of lemon juice
- a pinch of salt
- shaved almonds
- pistachios, unsalted (and preferably unroasted)
- edible flowers
Add about 6-8 cups to a large pot, together with the sugar, cardamom and rosewater and bring to a boil.
Add cold water and the juice of half a lemon to a large bowl and set aside.
Slice off the core from the bottom of the pears, using a knife or spoon, and peel them. Right after peeling, rub pears with the other half of the lemon and add to the bowl filled with lemon water.
Then add pears to the boiling water. Place a small plate over the top of the pears to make sure they stay submerged.
Reduce the heat and let pears simmer for about 20-25 minutes until they're soft.
Turn off the heat and let the pears cool down in the stock in the pot.
Soak cashews in hot water for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse and combine in a blender, together with all the other ingredients for the cream. Blend until smooth.
Roast shaved almonds in a pan with no added oil for about 1-2 minutes.
Serve poached pear with some stock, a tbsp of cashew cream, some nuts and/ or edible flowers.
- You can poach the pears up to two days ahead and keep them in the poaching stock in the fridge until serving.
- If you don't like (or have on hand) cardamom and rosewater, simply add the pulp of a vanilla pod, the pod itself and a cinnamon stick to the pot instead.
- Serve with vanilla (n)ice cream in the summer.
- In some recipes, the pears are coated with chocolate. If that's your thing, simply dip the pears in some melted chocolate right before serving.
I hope you love this recipe – please let me know in the comment section below! If you make this poached pear, make sure to take a photo and share it on my Facebook page or on Instagram, using the hashtag #minamadefood. Oh and don’t forget to tag me (@thisisminamade) so that I can see your creations!