Poached Pears in Honey, Ginger, Orange zest and Cinnamon syrup is a dessert made from pears poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and crystallized violets. This is a German dish and is known as Poire belle Hélène . It was created around 1864 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach. This recipe was the RecipeOfTheMonth for August 2016, organized by the Food Group , From the diaries of great cooks!
When you’re buying a pear, the mantra is: “Check the neck”. Since pears ripen from the inside out, if you check the flesh near the stem, it should be soft to the touch. If the pears are not ripe yet, store them in a warm place (not the refrigerator) such as a fruit bowl or paper bag until ripe. Poaching time can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on the ripeness of the fruit and the type of pear you choose. The pears cook in 20 minutes if they are ripe or it may take upto 40 minutes. So, adjust accordingly as per the texture of the fruit.
The dessert here is a simple one, but it is both elegant and cozy. It certainly requires no skill or expertise but just some time and thought. Poaching is a gentle cooking method where the food simmers over low heat. If the poaching liquid is delicious, your poached pears will be too. I have added vanilla, honey, ginger and orange zest to the sugar syrup for more flavor but you can poach in a simple sugar syrup using cinnamon and vanilla seeds or extract also.
Poaching pears in vanilla, honey, ginger and orange zest makes for wonderful flavor. Poires Belle-Hélène are traditionally sprinkled with crystallized violets on serving but if you do not have them, you do not have to rush out to buy some. Just serve them with ice cream and drizzle chocolate sauce over it.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ tsp orange zest( extracted from the outer skin of orange)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ inch ginger peeled and chopped
- 2 ripe pears
- Lemon juice as required
- Peel each pear from stem down. Sprinkle each pear with lemon juice to avoid browning while peeling the remaining pears.
- Use a melon baller or teaspoon sized measuring spoon to scoop out the base, at the bottom of the pear, followed by the core. The pear will look whole when standing upright, but will have a hole at the bottom where the core has been removed. Alternatively, use a fruit corer - a special tool designed to remove the cores from fruit.Simply place the end of the corer over the stem and then press it downwards, forcing it all the way through the center of the pear. Give it one or two turns, then draw the fruit corer out. You will now have a perfectly cored pear.
- Place 1 cups sugar and 3 cups water in a saucepan. Add cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, orange zest and chopped ginger. Cook over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add pears slowly into the pan by holding it with the stem. Allow the pears to simmer. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place a lid over it.
- Poach the pears in the liquid for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Turn occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- Take out the pears and let it cool. Continue to simmer the remaining syrup in the pan at low heat for 10-15 minutes or until it thickens.
- Serve pear warm or cooled with a little poaching syrup and a dollop of ice cream.