Poire Belle-Helene Revisited

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Star of Chocolate Mousse and Meyer Lemon Curd

Have you ever worked with Meyer Lemon?!? They have that little “je ne sais quoi”, that is so more refined that regular lemon or lime. A special perfume. Just adding slices of Meyer Lemon to cold water makes a wonderful refreshing summer drink. With memorial week-end upon us, I should have baked a red and blue dessert, but those meyer lemons looked so tempting that I could not resist. I was thinking of making  Meyer lemon curd pies topped with chocolate ganache, but I was too lazy to make my pies and came up with this special dessert.

1. First you will want to grate 2 lemons for the citrus peel.

2. Then squeeze all 4  lemon to get the juices out.

3. Then you will need to clean up the lemon peel, and make the candied lemon peel.

4. Make the chocolate mousse

5. Make the lemon curd.

Candied Lemon Peel:

Ingredients: two Meyer lemons Outer skin, 2 cup of water, 2 cup of sugar.

With a spoon, peel the inside skin of the lemon so that you have the outer part and the white part left. With  a sharp knife, slice the lemon in tiny strips. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the water and the sugar, and bring it to boil. Cook until the  sugar has dissolved. Add the citrus and cook for 15 minutes. When the lemon peel is starting to become translucent, take it out with a small sieve and lay them on a silpat.

Let they cool and dry. Use half of it for the chocolate mousse and half for decoration.

Chocolate Mousse with Creme Patissiere: 1/2 of the candied lemon peel diced thinly, 250 gr. or 9 oz. of whole milk, 3 egg yolks, 50 gr. or 2 oz of granulated sugar, 10 gr. or .35 oz of flour, 10 gr. or .35 oz of corn flour, a pinch of salt, 100 gr. of good quality chocolate ( I like the bittersweet ghiradelli).

In a bowl, stir vigorously the egg yolks, the sugar and the salt. Then add the flour and the corn flour and stir and mix well. Warm up the milk either in the microwave for 1 minute, or on a stove. When the milk is hot, pour it onto the egg mixture and stir. Empty the mixture into a small pot and place on the stove onto a low-medium temperature. Stir constantly while it is cooking so that it will not scorch. Stir until the mixture is thickening. Add the chopped chocolate and mix to incorporate. Add the chopped candied lemon peel and mix in. Spoon the mixture into the mold of your choice. I used the star mold and spoon the chocolate mixture equally into the openings of my star mold. Place the tray in the freezer so that the chocolate mixture will chill. ( The star mold is no longer available online, but the flower mold would be as pretty. )

Meyer Lemon Mousse: 4 meyer lemons, citrus of  2 meyer lemon, 5 eggs, 1 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 stick of butter, 1 tsp of salt.

Rinse the lemon, then with a sharp grater, grate the skin of two of the meyer lemons. Squeeze the juice of all 4 meyer lemon to get about 3/4 cup of juice. In a small saucepan, add the lemon juice, the sugar, the citrus, the salt and the 5 eggs and mix well. Place the pan onto the stove at medium temperature and stir.

Continue stirring until the mixture is coming to boil. Then reduce the temperature to medium-low and continue cooking until the mixture gets thick. When it is thick, add 1 stick of butter and mix well until it is well blended. Empty the mixture equally into the mold atop the chocolate.

Place the tray back into the freezer, and leave it for a mimimum of 4 hours.

To serve, unmold the “stars onto the plate and let them warm up to room temperature before eating ( 30 minutes or so..). Decorate with candied lemon peel. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!