Monday, April 26, 2010

cake poire belle helene

there is no such cake. this is simply what happens when you get crazy excited about a dessert and you must make a ton of it. the poire belle helene is a pear poached in syrup infused with vanilla bean, lemon zest and cinnamon stick. and then drenched in a ridiculous chocolate sauce. how could i resist? of course the whole thing was too much for two, so i decided to dress up the leftovers.

first i made the pears according to tyler florence's recipe. sadly, it's not one i recommend. the pears are magnificent, yes, but the chocolate recipe is off: it produces a much larger quantity than what is needed for 6 pears, and it's too thin for my taste. next time i will use the recipe on delia online.

the next day the sauce had hardened and so it was impossible to use as intended. i whipped it up, as you would a ganache, and used it to fill a red velvet cake, along with my go-to lemon whipped cream, and the perfumed pears atop. for the cake i followed paula deen's recipe. the only modification i made to it was to replace two tablespoons of the sugar quantity with cocoa. i like that it has a whole cup of buttermilk, it's a fluffy cake with a tender crumb. for the lemon whipped cream all you need is 2 cups heavy cream beaten stiff, then 2 tb confectioner's sugar, then 4 - 5 tb lemon curd mixed in, according to your taste. check out celia's microwave lemon curd, it's bound to make your life easier. to assemble the cake i doused it well and good with poaching syrup, then filled it. then i ploped the pears on top and so i stumbled unto a great dessert. it would have been even better to have more pears under the whipped cream. i think next time i'll skip the first scenario altogether and go for the cake straight away. the photos are half-assed because i didn't think i would actually use them. i honestly did not expect it to be so good, it was just leftover pears, for crying out loud. i love it when a shot in the dark pans out.


  1. Don't diss the photos, they look great! Poire belle helene..ah, such fond memories of this dessert, nice to see it brought back and updated in this wonderful format! Must check out the cake recipe - thank you - I have buttermilk that needs using up..

  2. Sounds like an inspired combination, especially adding lemon into the pear/chocolate flavor experience!

  3. amazing cake,great combination !the picks are wonderful,i love the little flowers used for decorations!

  4. Dana, don't you ever think anything bad about those photos. And don't you ever complain about sugar again! Ha!

    This is simply divine. A real treat. Crazy gorgeous.

  5. celia, thank you! i have some more buttermilk, too, and i plan to make quark. it's very difficult to find it in usa, and i miss it so.

    roving lemon, thanks for stopping by!

    alison, thank you. those violets have invaded most of my backyard, to my daughter's utter delight. we pick handfuls each afternoon :)

    mark, you're right! i was thinking about our little discussion when i was making this!! somehow i knew you were going to call me on it, which is what i deserve :)


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