Tarte Belle Hélène


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      1 hr 45

Appears in

The French Market

The French Market

By Joanne Harris and Fran Warde

Published 2005

  • About

Pears and chocolate have always been something of a winning combination. Use firm, ripe yellow pears for this recipe, and serve just warm with vanilla ice cream and curls of dark chocolate. The pastry is a delicate, crumbly sweet one, used only for desserts.


For the pâte sucrée

  • 60 g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 140 g plain flour
  • 50 g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1-2 medium egg yolks


    Heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Lightly butter a 25 cm flan ring and place it on a buttered baking sheet.

    To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. Now add the icing sugar and mix through. Whisk the egg yolks, add to the mixture and combine, using a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion until it forms a pastry ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Lightly dust a cool surface with icing sugar, roll the pastry out to fit just inside the flan ring, then carefully drape the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it into the flan ring on the baking sheet. Using your fingers, mould the pastry into the ring to form the base of the tart, then chill for a further 30 minutes.

    For the filling, peel, core and halve the pears and arrange round-side up in the pastry case. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat in, then mix in the ground almonds. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa, and fold in with the milk. Spoon into the pastry case and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, then cover with tin foil and bake for a further 15 minutes. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.