Friday, January 20, 2012

Far Breton

I received a lovely jar of prunes from Agen, France. Prunes get a bad rap, they are just plums that have been dried. Think big raisins.

These special prunes from the Agen region in France (famous for growing prunes) have no preservatives or sulphur dioxide. They are straight up plums, dried, with the pits. Plump and beautiful.

I tasted one straight from the jar and it was no ordinary pruneaux. I decided to use them in Dorie Greenspan's Far Breton, a flan like dessert from the Brittany region of France. She uses Armagnac to soak her prunes, but that's a pricey cognac, so you can substitute with Earl Grey tea or another type of brandy.

Don't forget if using prunes from Agen, to remove the pits or a trip to the dentist is in your future!

This is similar to a clafoutis and has a more custard like texture than a cake. Either way it's great for breakfast with coffee or anytime.


Far Breton (adapted from Dorie Greenspan):

3 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good-quality pitted prunes (for instance, pruneaux d'Agen)
1/4 cup Armagnac plus 1/4 cup water or 1 cup hot Earl Grey tea (I used bourbon!)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt and blend for 1 minute. Add the flour and pulse until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the blender jar. Chill in the jar for at least three hours and up to one day.

Dorie wants you to ignite the alcohol with a lighter and cook on the stove and then macerate overnight. Since my prunes were plump and beautiful, instead of the usual dried and shriveled variety, and the fact that I have no patience to wait till the next day, I skipped this step. I just added a little bit of bourbon to a bowl and soaked the prunes for the 3 hours, while the batter was resting in the fridge.

Position rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350F degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line bottom of the pan with parchment paper, butter the paper then dust the pan with flour, tapping out excess.

Blend the batter again until smooth, about 5 seconds. Pour into the prepared cake pan. Drop the prunes evenly into batter. Place cake pan on a baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until sides are browned and puffy and knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Cool cake completely on a cooling rack. Loosen cake from the pan by running a knife around the sides. Carefully invert pan onto a piece of wax or parchment paper, remove the pan and peel off parchment round. Place serving plate over cake and invert again. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve.

Excellent served warm, but delicious the next a.m. for breakfast out of the fridge.

Bon Appetit!

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SarahB said...

Gorgeous. I love the pictures!

Claudia said...

Stop! I'm not baking until February. And I have it all - including the bourbon. Of course, my prunes did not come to me via France. My life is clearly harder than yours.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ha ha, Claudia is funny! This is so puffy and beautiful. I too have no prunes from France only raisins, craisins, currents and dates. Some how not the same!

debby said...

Man, that look delicious....

Oui, Chef said...

HA...I just today pulled a Far Breton recipe from my files as a means to use up some prunes...what is it they say about great minds? Who says you can't bake? Nonsense!

Melbourne Girl said...

I love runes and love something like this for breakfast. Perfect

Joanne said...

the texture of that cake sounds absolutely perfect to me! As do the prunes...I love dried fruit of all kinds.

lisa is cooking said...

That's gorgeous! And, it's high time prunes got more love. Great use of them.

lea said...

Oh this looks so good and I'd love to have some right now. I remember an Italian cheesecake I used to get in NJ with prunes. At this moment I'm stuffing my face with your olive oil citrus cake. Success this time!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Perfection, Stacey. I love a custardy type of cake. I know the secret of good prunes. They don't deserve a bad rap. I've never heard of these, so I'll have to research them. I wonder if Whole Foods would have them?