Nah,nah,nah,nah, nah “Chocolat Day”… I can’t help to have this Simple Minds’ tune in my head… With chocolate day almost over ( how did I miss that? I like chocolate too you know?), it had to be only one thing; Pear Belle Hélène. When my parents brought us to the restaurant when we were children, or to the crêperie, the meal wasn’t complete with this wonderful dessert, made of poached pears, ice cream, Chantilly, hot chocolate sauce and topped with dry roasted nuts… Here is how I do mine; it is only fair after all!
For The Vanilla Ice Cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 25cl of double cream
- 25cl of milk
- 100g of caster sugar
- A bit of vanilla essence
I beat the egg yolks with the sugar, whisk them and then add the milk, double cream and the vanilla essence; when it is all mixed well together, I bring the mix to a gentle heat and stir with a spatula until smooth and slightly thick; remove from the heat and place in a plastic bowl. Allow to cool and freeze. Leave it for 30 minutes and mix to remove potential ice crystals and then freeze again; I didn’t need a machine for this one, not one bit and it turned out great. Remove 15 minutes before serving…
Now, for the pears; I chose them on the hard side, not too ripe so they can take the poaching, otherwise they will turn to mush. Peeled and halved, I poach them in water, two table spoons of unrefined muscovado sugar (for darkness, taste and drama), rhubarb sticks and orange peels. I bring it to the boil and let them simmer until the pears are just about soft (check with a sharp knife). I take the pears and put them aside to cool on a plate with the rhubarb sticks for serving. You can discard the orange peel bits. I reduce the mix to a caramel like texture for after, as I do not care too much for Chantilly in this dish…
While all this happens, and remember that you have to be kind to a “beautiful Hélène”, select some nuts of your choice; hazelnuts work very well, that would be my choice. Chop them finely on a board and dry roast them in a hot pan… Like I always say, don’t go too far, this process is pretty quick and will release all the flavours of the nuts… Same principle as coffee if you wish…
Now that everything is ready, you just have to make the chocolate sauce, 100g of 40% cocoa chocolate, melted with 25cl of fresh cream. Scoop the Ice cream in the middle, the caramel of the “poaching”, the hot chocolate and sprinkle the nuts all over… In know that, somewhere in the world and as I am typing these few sort lines, it is still International Chocolate Day… So I’ll keep singing my little song: “ Nah,nah,nah,nah, nah, Chocolat Day… 22 years ago… Nah, nah, nah…
Best dessert EVER! Happy Chocolate day y’all!
Keep Well and Eat Happy