Poire Belle-Helene Revisited

photo 3

One of my dad’s favorite was Poire Belle-Helene, or Pear Belle Helene. It is a dessert made of Poached Pears atop vanilla ice-cream, and covered with Chocolate Syrup and toasted almond. It is delicious and really easy to do.

According to Wikepedia, “Poire belle Hélène was created around 1864 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach.” The original  Simpler versions replace poached pears with canned pears and crystallized violets with sliced almonds.

I love the combination of vanilla, chocolate and pear. It is a comforting dessert, warm and delicious.

This past Saturday I was in the mood for those combinations, but was also craving cheesecake instead of ice-cream so that is when I decided to combine all those ingredients to make this dessert.

photo 1

Ingredients for 12 people: 

Ingredients for the Pear Compote:

  • 3 pears peeled and cored
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/8 tsp of tonka powder, if you can’t find any replace with cardamom
  1. After coring and peeling the pears, slice them in half and cube them very small.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and when the butter is sizzling, add the diced pears. Mix well.photo 1
  3. Add the sugar, the water and the tonka or cardamom spice.
  4. Bring to a boil and when it is boiling, reduce the heat down and cook until the liquid has reduced to half.
  5. When it is done, remove it from the heat and let it cook completely.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Syrup:

  • 1 cup of chocolate of good quality ( I use Ghiradhelli)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  1. Place the heavy cream into a microwable safe bowl and cook the cream for 2 minutes or until it is really hot. ( you may cook the cream over the stove if you do not want to use the microwave).
  2. Place the chocolate chips into a small bowl. Pour the hot cream over it and let it sit for a few minutes.photo 4
  3. After a few minutes mix the cream and the ganache will be perfect, free of lumps;-)photo 5

Ingredients for 12 individual lingot cheesecakes:

  • ▪ 387.5 gr  or about 14 oz of cream cheese at room temperature ( about 1 1/2 cream cheese bar)
  • 110 gr.  or about 1/2 cup of sugar
  • ▪100 gr.  or about 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 80 gr.  or about 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 13 gr. , or about 3 tsp of egg yolks
  • 13 gr. , or about 3 tsp of corn starch
  • 70 gr. , or about 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of heavy cream
  • a vanilla bean
  1. Place the cream cheese in a kitchen mixer and beat it.
  2. Add the sour cream and mix again.
  3. Add the sugar, egg yolks, eggs and beat it again until the texture is free of lumps.
  4. remove the vanilla seeds from the bean with a sharp knife and mix it with the heavy cream. Add the corn starch and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a fleximold of your choice. I chose the lingot tray.
  6. Cook in the oven for 50 minutes at 194.
  7. When the cheesecakes are cooked, let them cool and place them in the fridge to cool for a few hours ( overnight is better).photo 2
  8. The following day, remove the cheesecake one at a time and dip them into the warm chocolate ganache to half.photo 3
  9. Place the cheesecake on individual plates.
  10. Place a few tablespoons of the pear compote on top of the cheesecake and drizzle of bit of the chocolate on the side of the cheesecake for added decoration. Et voila!

photo 3

If you wish to serve more pear compote, spoon the pear compote on the plate, place the cheesecake on top of it, drizzle some chocolate over the cheesecake et voila!

photo 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pear and Creme de Marrons Purses


In France, Creme de Marron is very popular. It is even more popular around the holidays. You will find many desserts with creme de marrons as a filling instead of Chocolate or peanut butter. My mom loved Creme de Marrons, and she would eat it by the teaspoon. I found it okay, but really preferred chocolate over Creme de Marrons.

It is so funny how your tastebud evolves as you age. Today i like it better and I have been indulging. I am eating it for breakfast on toasted bread, for snacks by the teaspoon and for desserts. Yeah, I know.. not so good for my waist.. but it is holidays right;-) We can indulge….

This evening I will offer you a recipe that was well appreciated at one of my last cooking class. It is easy to make, very healthy and so so good!

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes size purses:

  • 1 pack of phylll dough thawed out
  • 3 pears peeled, sliced and cubed in very small cubes
  • 12 tbsp of Creme de marron, or chocolate paste such as Nutella if you do not have creme de marron.
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter, or olive oil.
  1. Roll the pastry out. Cut square of 6 inches wide. Peel off three layers of the phyllo and place those 3 layer square in each opening of the cupcake mold. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the diced pears with 2 tbsp. of brown sugar.
  3. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the diced pear mixture into each phyllo cup. Top the pear with 1 tbsp of creme de marrons, (or nutella if you do not have creme de marrons).
  4. Pinch the four sides together to close up the purse. With a pastry brush, brush the top of each purse with the melted butter, or olive oil.
  5. Cook in a warm oven at 400 for 12 minutes or until the top is a golden brown color.


  1. Eat warm with ice-cream or whipped cream. YUM!!!


Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pear Tart with Frangipane (Almond Paste)

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I sure did even though I spent a lof of my day in my kitchen. But then again, it makes me happy. Unlike many of you, I did not host the Thanksgiving dinner. My sister-in-law did. As the only true-born American in our family of immigrants, she always has the honor to host Thanksgiving dinner. And the rest of us, get to help her out by bringing dishes. I was in charge of appetizers and desserts.

I wanted to bring some appetizers that would be on a light side, and not too bad for you. My choices were:

  • Small tomato mozzarella
  • spinach dip with assorted crackers
  • brie en croute with fig jelly
  • quiches

And for desserts, I brought a caramel cheesecake and a pear tart. I wanted to bring a chocolate something, but one of the guest brought 2 chocolate desserts, so i decided on the two desserts mentioned above.

Today i will share the pear tart. It is really easy to make. And it is so yummy.

Ingredients for the pie crust for a 9″ round

You can buy an already pie crust in the refrigerated part of your grocery store, or you can make your own. The pie crust recipe is so much better than the store-bought. It is firmer so it will not break when you are trying to transfer the pie from the mold to a tray, and it tastes so much better than a store-bought.

  • 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 4 oz or 115 gr. of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-4 tbsp of water

Sift the flour and the baking powder in a large bowl, then add the sugar and mix well. Add the butter cut into small pieces and mix in it in the flour with your hands, rubbing your hands together. Little by little add a few drops of water and knead the dough. Roll the dough in a ball and refrigerate for 15 minutes or more.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and place it on the roul’pat, and roll the dough out into a 10 inch circle. With the rolling-pin, lift the dough from the roul’pat and place it into the scalloped tart mold. With the fork, prick the pastry shell with a fork.

Ingredients for the pie:

  • 150 gr or 2/3 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 150 gr or 2/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 150 gr or 2/3 cup of almond mill
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp of almond extract
  • 3 pears ( bosc preferably or red) peeled.
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

First you will want to poach the pears. If you  want to poach the pear the traditional way, you will need to poach the pear in a syrup of .

I did not do that, instead I used my round mold. So if you want to save time, do the same. PLace the pears in the large round mold, add 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and cover the mold with the octogonal silpat. Cook the pear in the microwave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the frangipane paste. In a bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. Then add the almond mill and the flour and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 tsp of almond extract and mix well. Spread this mixture inside the pie.

Then slice each pear in half. Scoop the seeds with a small spoon and slice the pear very thinly in tiny slices.

Place the pears on the frangipane paste as shown below.

Cook the pear tart for 30 minutes at 375 or until the pie is golden brown and fluffy.

This pie is wonderful warm, or cold.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Clafouti aux Poires

What are you ? a chocolate addict or a fruit junkie. I am a chocolate addict, and would rather have chocolate over any other desserts out there except maybe French fruit desserts such as charlotte, tarts and clafoutis.  AAah those clafoutis…I can still picture my mom making them on Sundays. See.. In France Sunday often equates lavish lunches and yummy teas in the afternoon. If we had nothing planned, mom would spend her morning making sumptuous cakes, but if she only had a limited time she would make easy desserts such as tarts, meringues, and clafoutis. And we would gather as a family in the afternoon to eat those cakes…Where does time go?!?!

Clafoutis are easy desserts because they need only a few ingredients, they cook in a flash and you can add any fruit that you like. I had intended to fix a pear dessert for one of my cooking class, but when I found out that many people would be attending, I decided to make something easy, fast and yummy like a flan which made me think of a clafouti. It had been such a long time since I had eaten one.. In fact, I think that the last time I ate one was in France at least 10 years ago.

There are many recipes out there, but this one is one that my mom used to make.

Ingredients for a larger cake or 12 cupcakes: 4 eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 3 pears peeled and diced in a small cubes.

In a bowl, add the eggs, the sugar, the flour and the vanilla and beat well to mix. Fill up the fluted cupcakes tray or the daisy mold with the pear to half their capacity. Then pour the dough over the pear to almost the top of each cupcakes. Sprinkle some granulated sugar over the top of the cake and cook at 400 for 15 minutes for the little cupcakes, and 30 minutes for a cake.

This cake can be eaten warm right out of the oven, or cold. You may drizzle warm chocolate over the clafouti for added flavors, add a scoop of ice-cream or eat it as it. Yum!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Roasted Pear Creme Brulee Tart

I love pears but I have never found a dessert other than poached pears that I have really liked. So when I saw this recipe of Roasted pear and creme brulee  in the Best Baking recipes of Cooking light 2011, I had to try it! And it was very good. Very very light! It is just not an easy recipe since there are so many steps.

Ingredients for a large tart tray of 12 inches.

Roasted Pears: 4 pears cored.  2 tsp of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg, 2/3 cup of brown sugar.

Place the pears cut side down on a flexipan. In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle the pears with the sugar and spices mixture, and bake them in an already warm oven of 450 for 30 minutes or until the pears are tender. Cool completely, remove the skin and slice thinly.

The pastry ( Pate Sablee): 8 oz of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature, 2 tbsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt.

Place the sugar, salt and flour in a bowl and mix well. Slowly add the butter a little at a time, and mix well until the dough sticks together. Place the dough on the roulpat, and flatten until it is the size of the tart. Roll the roulpat with the dough on it, and place in the fridge to cool. After 10 minutes, take the dough back out, and place it into the tart tray. Perfore the dough to prevent air pockets. Lay baking beads or dry beans all over the dough to prevent the dough to rise during baking. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Remove the baking beads or dry beans. Fill with the creme patissiere.

Ingredients for the filling ( Creme Patissiere) :3/4 cup of brown sugar, 4 1/2 tbsp of all-purpose flour, 3 cups of fat-free milk or reduced milk, 1 piece of vanilla bean, 2 tbsp of vanilla extract, 2 eggs.

Bring the milk, vanilla, vanilla bean,  sugar & a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a pot. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture becomes pale and light. Stir in the flour slowly until it is thoroughly mixed with the egg mixture. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and scrape the seeds out with the tip of a knife. Drop the seeds into the milk and stir. Pour the boiling milk into the mixture a little by little while whisking continuously to avoid curdling. And then stir in the rest of the milk until the mixture is well combined. Transfer the whole mixture into a pot and heat it under low setting. Stir it constantly with a wooden spoon  until it thickens. Once the custard has thickened, take it off the heat, pour it into a clean bowl and let it cool down. Once cooled, cover it with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed.

Pour the cream over the dough, and lay the pears over the creme patissiere. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and with a kitchen torch heat the sugar until it caramelizes. Enjoy!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

My Twist on the Crepes Flambees: Creme Patissiere and Caramelized Pears.

I don’t know how it is at your house, but at my house on Sunday, we try to have fancy dinner and try to eat things we would not normally eat during the week… We also eat desserts. Since I had fixed crepes for dinner, an easy dessert to follow would have been Crepes Flambee…I love Crepes Flambees. The traditional Crepes flambees are topped with fresh oranges, and flambees with Cointreau. Nothing wrong with the traditional recipe, I just wanted my crepe flambee with a “fall flavor”. I thought of using apples, but then decided to go with pears. Pears are much more delicate in taste…Here is my recipe:

Ingredients for 4 people: 8 crepes, 1 cup of creme patissiere( 1/8 cup of brown sugar, 1 vanilla bean sliced, 2 tbsp of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg). 2 pears, 2 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of brown sugar ( i used dark muscavado). 4 tsp of pear schaps such as Pear William.

First, make the creme patissiere: In a large bowl, beat the egg with the sugar and slowly add the flour. Then add the milk that you would have previously brought to boil with the vanilla bean. Stir the milk into the egg mixture. Place the creme back on the stove and cook at low temperature until the cream is getting thick, remove the vanilla bean and remove the seeds from the bean. Set the cream aside, and let cool.

Now prepare the pears that will top the crepes. Core the pears, and peel ( or not) the pears. Then slice the pears in thin slices. In a frying pan, melt the butter and when the butter has melted, add the sugar and bring to boil. Add the pears in the caramel,  and cook the pears for 2-4 minutes.

To prepare the crepes, spoon the creme patissiere ( about 1/8 of a cup) in each crepe. Fold the crepe in half, and again in half. You will have a triangle. Place two stuffed crepes onto a bowl, or a concave plate. Spoon some pears with the caramel onto the crepes. Drizzle 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp of Pear William onto the pears, and with a lighter ignite the crepes. Et voila! Yum, Yum…

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!