cafela: (Default)
I've been wanting to make this dessert for ages. While my husband and I were on our honeymoon in St. Martin (yay, French Caribbean), we got to try a lot of awesome food, including a variation on this dish. It's a surprisingly easy and simple dish, and before trying it, I never would have thought that pears and chocolate would make such a good pair (pun intended). But, oh, it is delicious.

Poires Belle Hélène


2-4 pears, peeled (I used Bosc pears)

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 or 5 oz chocolate in pieces(I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips--affordable but good quality, and you need quality chocolate for this sauce. Check the ingredients and make sure that chocolate/cocoa/cacao is the first ingredient, and you should be good to go.)

2 tb butter

vanilla ice cream

a deep pot with a lid (needs to be deep enough for the pears to sit upright)

Peel your pears. Leave the stem for decoration (you will not be able to pick them up by the stem after they've poached). In a deep pot, mix the sugar and water while on medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts. Once it melts, place your pears inside, and get the water to a low boil. Cover, and let poach for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes is up, remove your pears and let them cool to room temperature. I used tongs to remove them and keep them whole. If you're serving them a day or two later, put them in the fridge, but be sure to let them return to room temperature before coating them with chocolate, because the pears won't be as good cold. I let mine cool, then placed them in dessert dishes.

While they cool, you should turn the stove to high and reduce the remaining liquid to about half what it was, so you get a pear-flavored syrup of sorts. If you're serving the pears the next day, reserve this liquid to make your chocolate sauce.

Just before you're ready to serve the pears, dump your chocolate into the warm syrup. Do not boil! At most have the heat on medium low, but low is probably better.

Stir until the chocolate is mostly melted. Add the butter, stir it in. Now, spoon the chocolate sauce over the pears.

Add ice cream, dig in! In retrospect, it might be better to have scooped the ice cream first, put the pear on top, and then covered in chocolate sauce; either way, it ended up delicious!

cafela: (chocolate)
I made a chocolate cake for my father-in-law's birthday this past weekend. The recipe for the cake was basically me adding an extra tablespoon of oil and a couple ounces of melted chocolate to a devil's food cake mix. I usually bake from scratch, but there's nothing wrong with improving on a cake mix you know will work. Especially when you waited until 9pm to start said cake. But since I did take the easier route, I wanted to give this cake a special touch. I started by using 6-inch cake pans instead of 8 or 9 inch pans--this gives you a much taller (and cuter, I think) cake.

I love my 6-inch cake pans. You can either use 3 of the cake pans and have a very tall cake, or use 2 and pour off enough batter for a couple of cupcakes. I usually go the extra cupcake route, because it's a good way to test to make sure the cake turned out well, or to fend off those who might want to cut into the cake too soon.

Raspberries were on sale (probably for the last time this year) at the grocery store this past week, so I decided to dress the cake up with some well-placed raspberries. It's an easy way to make most any cake look a lot more impressive, and the raspberries lend a fresh sweetness to each slice. Here's the finished product:

cafela: (Default)
How about something to drink? This is a good treat at the end of the day, and it doubles as a dessert!

Now, you may not have all of the ingredients called for--this is okay! If it doesn't have an asterisk* next to it, then you can still make a perfectly good chocolate martini without it, and simply increase the amount of chocolate liqueur to make up for what was left out. I believe in having a well-stocked bar with a lot of variety, but mine took time to build up. I started with a bottle each of rum, vodka, and Cointreau, along with a bottle of peach liqueur given to me by my French host family. As I held parties/tried new recipes/made more friends/experienced new drinks/traveled, my collection slowly grew into what it is today.


1 scoop vanilla or chocolate ice cream*

1/2 c milk or half n half*

1 shot Godiva chocolate liqueur*

1/2 shot vanilla vodka

1/4 shot Kahlua liqueur

1/4 shot Amaretto liqueur

1/2 shot Godiva white chocolate liqueur

finely ground/shaved chocolate (just use a square of baking chocolate and a cheese grater or zester)

Pour all ingredients into a martini shaker; shake until blended, pour into martini glass. Garnish with ground chocolate/chocolate shavings if desired. It's that easy!

For a more elegant look, before pouring the drink in, you can dip the rim of the martini glass into milk and then roll in the ground chocolate.

If you don't have ice cream, you can always increase the milk by a 1/4 cup and use ice in the shaker, but this will leave you with a watery martini.

April 2014

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