Spiced poached pears with warm chocolate sauce

by Paula Casimiro
Today I leave you a recipe, poached pears with spices and hot chocolate sauce, and also a couple of thoughts on the passage of time.

I love my birthday, in this matter I’m like a child. Not because of the gifts, although I take them with pleasure and gratitude, but for everything that the passage of time means. For the most melancholic, time that has elapsed is like a treasure, ours to keep in contrast to the uncertainty of the time that is to come. I prefer to think of time like a kind of conveyor belt, which brings me closer to the realization of my projects and dreams.

So, Saturday was my birthday. A person goes tiptoeing from one day to another and before you notice it is done! Another stroll around the sun completed. As I said, I don’t spend much time thinking about the 44 years that I have left behind. From those I keep all the memories and experience that make me the person I am today. If I had taken other paths I would be a different person and live a different life and there is no way to know if it would be better or worse, just that it would be different. During these years I learned to let go of what isn’t good for me in a more gentle manner; I learned to appreciate what it is instead of complaining about what might be lacking; and I learned that the little I know today about life I couldn’t have known 10 or 20 years ago. There is a knowledge that can only come from the passage of time, if we are willing to learn. Today, I look forward for the next 44 years, sure, yet, that life only happens to those who get up every day and live. Be calm and wait for things to happen at the right time, but don’t procrastinate.

Speaking of things we should not delay, I was looking for inspiration to make use of the pumpkins that are sitting on my kitchen counter when, without knowing exactly how, I came to a Poires Belle Helene recipe in the fantastic Helene Dujardin’s blog, Tartelette. I immediately forgot about those pumpkins and jumped into the kitchen, where there were still some small and firm pears left after making this cake.

This is my usual recipe, where I poach the pears in a syrup of various spices. I like to eat them almost immediately – still warm, smooth and delicately sweet – and usually don’t add anything more. But, for a special occasion, the hot chocolate sauce elevates this simple dessert to a higher level. You can even add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, for a real sweet treat. In the peak season, when you need to do something about all those pears, you can cook them in a large quantity and store the poached pears in the refrigerator, immersed in the aromatic syrup in which they cooked. They are also delicious eaten cold.

I wish you alll a nice week and see you soon.
Spiced poached pears with warm chocolate sauce
Spiced poached pears with warm chocolate sauce
Spiced poached pears with warm chocolate sauce

Spiced poached pears with warm chocolate sauce

This is an elegant but very simple dessert. I also like to make the poached pears and store them in the refrigerator, covered with spices syrup in which they cooked. Occasionally, I take one and eat it without adding anything else. It’s a good way to take advantage of all the fruit in season, particularly those pears that can be a little unripe and firm.

serves 4

Prep time:

Cook time:


  • 4 small, firm, pears
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean cut in half lengthwise (for this recipe you’ll only need one half)
  • 1 orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream



  1. Peel the pears and cut some of the bottom to flatten. In a small saucepan, place the pears, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, 1/2 vanilla bean, orange peel, honey and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the pears are cooked (pierce with a toothpick to confirm).
  2. Meanwhile make the chocolate sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the cream without boiling. Break the chocolate into small pieces into a bowl. When the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and stir well until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Serve the pears still warm with the hot chocolate sauce on top. You can also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (optional).



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