Crêpes Belle Helene

Photo: Andrew Grinton

This dessert is my modern, allergy-friendly twist on a European classic, Poires Belle Helene, which was created around 1864 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the Offenbach operetta La belle Héléne. The original dessert was made from pears poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and crystallized violets. The pears are best when prepared the evening before.

Makes: 6 servings
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


Poached Pears

  • 2 cups rose wine
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup grenadine syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 Bosc pears

Chocolate Sauce

Makes: 1 3/4 cups

  • 8 oz good quality allergen-free dark chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup hemp milk beverage


  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 6 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 cup rice milk beverage
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free, soy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance sticks) melted & cooled
  • Dairy-free, soy-free margarine as needed, for cooking Crepes

Recipe Tips

Refrigerate remaining chocolate sauce. Remove from refrigerator and warm gently as needed for other uses. I used Equal Exchange Chocolates 65%, which is available at specialty markets.

The chocolate sauce is easy to but to save time, Holy Kakow makes organic chocolate sauce that is free of the top allergens. Or substitute your preferred sauce.

Mise en place is the French cooking term that means: “everything in place.” It refers to the need to organize your ingredients that will be cooked. Your tools to use for the recipe are also gathered before you start cooking.


1. For poached pears, in a medium saucepan combine rosé, water, grenadine, sugar, zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

2. Peel pears and cut them in half vertically. Using a melon baller, scoop out seed pocket. Cut a shallow “V” down center of top part of cut side to remove stem, string, and bud end.

3. Place pear halves in saucepan with poaching liquid and rest a circle of parchment paper directly on top of pears. (The paper ensures the pears are submerged, so they take on color of the poaching liquid.) Bring to a gentle simmer and poach until tender Without stirring, about 15-20 minutes. When pears pierce easily with a fork, they are done. Turn off heat and let pears cool in the liquid. Refrigerate in liquid overnight to let pears absorb more color and flavor. Bring to room temperature before finishing recipe.

4. For the chocolate sauce, melt chocolate over a double boiler. Place hemp milk in microwave or heat on low in small saucepan, until just warm. Add milk to melted chocolate and whisk together for several minutes until smooth and glossy. Set aside at room temperature.

5. For the crepes, in a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and Water. Set aside while you “mise en place,” or organize, remaining ingredients. Return to flaxseed mixture and whisk again. The consistency will be gelatinous.

6. Using a blender or food processor, add flaxseed mixture, rice milk, chickpea flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, and dairy-free margarine and blend until smooth. Cover batter and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Meantime, pour chocolate sauce into a squirt bottle.

7. Heat a crepe pan, or 8-inch or 10-inch non-stick pan, over medium heat. Grease the pan With a small amount of dairy-free margarine. Lift pan off heat, and ladle 1/4 cup of batter into it. Tilt and swirl pan to evenly coat bottom with a thin layer of batter. Return pan to heat and cook until edges are dry and crepe’s underside is lightly golden, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Gently slip edge of crepe and flip over. Allow to cool for another minute. Slide crepe onto a plate, cover with foil or parchment paper, and keep Warm while cooking remaining crepes. Each will be 6 inches in diameter.

8. To assemble dessert, place a crepe in center of a plate. Cut each pear half lengthwise into 6 slices. Fan 3 slices in middle at 12 o’clock and fan 3 more at o o’clock. Fold edges of pears to overlap in middle. Place a scoop of your favorite dairy-free ice cream in center. Use squirt bottle (or a spoon) to finish with a drizzle of chocolate sauce over the crepes.

and Joel Schaefer are the husband-and-wife culinary team behind Chef Joel is the former Special Dietary Manager at Walt Disney World who developed the food allergy program used across the Disney properties and cruise line.