A new classic
Poached pears with chocolate sauce are an elegant light dessert. They are easy to make yet refined enough to impress a romantic dinner date. Chocolate covered strawberries are so 20th century! Try this recipe for a change and you will score big points!
This recipe is a pared-down version of a French classic, Poire Belle-Helene, minus the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream… If you are not worried about your waistline, feel free to add these to your dessert for the full French experience.
I do worry about my waistline, though, hence this version. I find that this dessert satisfies my sweet tooth without breaking the calorie bank. It combines the nutritional benefits of fruit (= fiber, vitamins, minerals…) plus dark chocolate (= antioxidants and minerals). A winner in my book!
Note that the nutritional values mentioned below are for a whole medium pear per person, but I find that half a pear or 3/4 are a nice serving size to end a meal with a sweet touch.
I personally like to use a good quality hard cider (preferably from Normandy) as poaching liquid – those of you who know me will understand why ;-). You can however use your choice of liquid for poaching: just water, apple juice, white wine, or – why not – red wine (this will create a beautiful red colored pear).
It is best to use firm pears that are not too ripe, they will keep their shape nicely once cooked yet melt in your mouth when you bite into them.
Putting it together
This recipe requires advance preparation to allow the pears to cool down. Although in a pinch, I am sure warm pears would taste just fine. The chocolate sauce, on the other hand, should be made when ready to serve. It only takes a couple of minutes.
If you must make the sauce in advance, you can reheat it gently over a bain-marie or a few seconds at a time in the microwave, but be careful as it might curdle or separate if you apply too much heat.
So what are you waiting for? These delicious poached pears with chocolate sauce should be your new classy dessert!
Poached pears with chocolate sauce
- Peel ginger and slice it.
- Place cider, water, sugar, spices and ginger in a 3 quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Quarter, peel and core the pears. Add them to the liquid, cover and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
- Test pears with a sharp knife, it should enter smoothly when the pears are cooked. Cook longer if needed.
- Remove from heat and let the pears cool in the liquid. Drain, remove to a plate and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Place chocolate and milk in microwavable bowl. Heat for 30 sec at a time for a total of 1-1/2 to 2 minutes until the chocolate has softened. Watch to make sure the milk doesn't boil over.
- Stir gently until the chocolate has melted completely.
- Add the cream, a tablespoon at a time, stirring gently, until smooth.
- Serve immediately.