May 18, 2019

PRUNE AND BRANDY CLAFOUTIS


Talking about Agen prunes in my previous post reminded me of a dessert I made using prunes soaked in brandy a long time ago.  In a snatched half hour between the drying of coats of paint in our newly created bedroom upstairs I did a bit of research and found the photos - as far back as 2010.  Gosh, was it really that long ago that I made this clafoutis?  How time flies!


 
A clafoutis is a very popular dessert in France, most often made using fresh cherries during the cherry season and then apricots and plums a bit later on.  I have also made a caramelised apple clafoutis which was gorgeous (see here) and a banana clafoutis, using as it happens gluten free flour (see here) which was equally delicious for banana fans but by no means traditional. 
 
It's basically a fruit dessert consisting of seasonal fruit baked in a batter.  Sometimes it is served in spoonfuls from the dish, other times it is served sliced like a cake.  Either way, it's lovely and there are zillions of recipes for it out there.  My favourite recipe comes from my friend Susan which you can see here.  Soon after her recipe appeared in her blog I used it to make a cherry clafoutis and wrote about it as a holiday cooking post in another blog. 
 
 
A follower then left a comment that she makes a clafoutis using prunes soaked in brandy and I was intrigued.  It was one of those things that I felt compelled to make as soon as possible so I did - and I have to say that if you are a fan of prunes - it was delicious!  Consequently it is time I wrote about it here.
 
Stoning the prunes proved to be a fiddly, sticky and messy job. At first the stones I removed had most of the flesh of the prunes still attached to them and a lot of the rest of it was all over my hands and stuck to my sleeves. After a bit of practice I found a technique that succeeded in removing the stone and leaving most of the precious prunes intact. Agen prunes are quite expensive so not to be wasted if possible.
The technique is to hold the prune with its flatter sides between finger and thumb then cut into it with a sharp knife down to the stone, run the knife all around the edge of the stone then flip the prune open and if you’re very lucky the stone comes out clean (ish).  Because of this I have given the recipe faff factor ** as fiddling about stoning prunes is not my favourite pastime!
I then soaked them in about two tablespoons of brandy for a couple of hours.

The lady who left the comment about soaking them in brandy then came back with a second one saying that she doesn't bother stoning the prunes, just serves the clafoutis with a health warning and the address of the nearest dentist! 
 
Ingredients
100-150g Agen prunes, stones removed
2 tblsp brandy for soaking the prunes
50g plain flour
50g ground almonds
100g sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
250ml plain yoghurt or a mixture of yoghurt and whole milk
a handful of flaked almonds (optional)
 
Method
2 hours before making the clafoutis, prepare the prunes by stoning them and soaking in the brandy.
 
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°fan.  Butter a suitable baking dish or pie dish.  Lay the fruit in an even layer in the dish. 
 
Put all the other ingredients except for the flaked almonds into a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk or hand blender until you have a smooth batter.
 
Pour the batter over the fruit, scatter the flaked almonds on top if using them, and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and firm.
 
Serve warm by itself, or with cream or ice cream.
 
Serves 4-6 people. 

5 comments:

  1. Technically I think this is Far Breton -- equally delicious!

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    1. Susan, Far Breton or even Flognarde perhaps - a clafoutis by another name but as you say, equally delicious!

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  2. Oh this is a fine and classic pud if ever there was one. I haven't made one for too many long months. Once upon a time I tried to be very careful about what was a clafoutis or a flognarde or a far. I didn't want to upset anyone by calling it the wrong thing but then I realised that nobody really knows. I did come across a chef who insisted that an authentic far should be more flan and less fruit and I took that as gospel until I realised that he also made a savoury flognarde and nobody could call that authentic. (Very tasty, though).

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    1. Phil, in my experience a far or a flan are much firmer than a clafoutis and definitely served turned out of the dish like a tart or flan…….but who knows?!

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  3. I always think that a flan is like our egg custard tart but with flour added to it! This sounds delicious, and I agree Jean that far and flan are firmer than a clafoutis. But who cares! They're all delicious.

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