Today, Mar. 15, is National Pears Helene Day. I'd never heard of Pears Helene before I saw it come up on my little calendar of upcoming national food holidays (left sidebar). But it sounded intriguing so I looked it up online. I found lots of recipes, and the common thread among them is that Pears Helene is cooked pears with chocolate sauce, usually served over ice cream and topped with almonds. Well, we don't have ice cream or almonds, but since those are optional and we did have pears and chocolate, I decided to forge ahead and create a cheap and easy version of this delightful looking French dessert.
Pears Helene, the easy way
1 large can pear halves in light syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3-4 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp. shortening
1/4 cup milk
Empty pears and syrup into saucepan and heat over medium heat (I chose to quarter the pears instead of leaving them in halves). Don't boil, just get them good and hot. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk. I did this in the microwave, and the texture didn't end up the way I wanted, so I reheated the chocolate with some shortening and milk until it reached a smooth and syrupy consistency.
To serve, place 3 or 4 pear quarters on each plate and drizzle (liberally, heehee) with chocolate sauce. Or spoon some pears over vanilla ice cream and top with chocolate sauce and sliced almonds. Eat and enjoy!!
Yum, doesn't it just look delicious! I think we'll be making this quick, easy, scrumptious dessert many times in the future. This is one of those things I want my kids to grow up asking for. "Mom, can we have Pears Helene for dessert tonight?" "Of course, honey! Go grab a can of pears and some chocolate chips!" Ah, it just rolls off the tongue! :-)
As a bonus, the chocolate sauce would also make a good fondue-like dip for things like bananas, strawberries, pound cake cubes, graham crackers, etc.