National Pears Hélène Day
March 15th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

The perfect pear-ing of fruit and chocolate - March 15 is National Pears Hélène Day!

While the Ides of March may not have worked out so well for Julius Caesar, we like to celebrate today's date with a lovely confection that's sure to make you feel downright fancy.

Pears Hélène, or Poire belle Hélène, is a truly divine dessert made with pears poached in sugar syrup. The pears are then topped with vanilla ice cream, crystallized violets and chocolate syrup.

The dish was created in 1864 by Auguste Escoffier, who named his dessert after La belle Hélène, an operetta by Jacques Offenbach. Considering other foods have been created around and named after people, this isn't really out of the ordinary.

Over time, Pears Hélène has been simplified by substituting poached pears with canned and the delicate crystallized violets with sliced almonds. Not quite as fancy, but more doable for the pantry-scrounger that must satisfy his or her craving.

Intrigued? Take a stab at it by making caramelized pears with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate sorbet. They do take a bit of time, but you can also prepare them well in advance, especially if serving after dinner. And what a stunning finish it will make!

We originally published this in 2012, but why not have a second helping of dessert?

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. ambradambra

    I've just blogged about pears and chocolate and had no idea that March 15 was National Pears Hélène Day. Oh well, next year maybe:

    May 31, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  2. Ganthor the Troglodyte Troll

    I claim this spot on behalf of all troglodytes and ignoramuses in the land of Krangoghan!

    March 15, 2012 at 9:23 am |
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