Biscuits with Bartok 7 – Breton Prune Far (again)

Apologies for those that may have recently received this post, as Stefan’s Gourmet Blog recently recounted, I too have had problems with this specific post showing up in the Reader, though it has gone out to Facebook and Twitter. Please bear with me while I make a test of this as a scheduled post.  I know tag no’s are not the problem, and suspect it is a random issue with the platform! Thanks for your patience.

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As an appropriate welcome to the French horn to accompany the string section this week, I introduce the Breton Prune Far.  This delicious custardy pudding cake, similar to a clafoutis but with a dense, smooth, flan-like texture is best eaten cold. The recipe is a very quick and easy way to indulge in a refined ‘cake’ incorporating this most delicious of dried fruit. In fact, the French horn is really just an excuse to post about the Far, which I actually made for the musicians several weeks ago – and it is now Mozart, with cake.  I really need to change the title….

I know there are many prune dissenters out there, but I will not have a bad word said about my number 1 dried fruit. I eat it as a snack while out fishing or hill walking, add it to my breakfast muesli, or have gently stewed prunes for breakfast or as a treat with home made vanilla ice cream. So many people still recoil in horror at the thought of eating prunes. So bad is this stigma that in California, one of the key areas of production, they are alternatively called dried plums, which of course they are, but this is used to dispel the nursery food associations.

The extent of the animosity and occasional revulsion directed at the poor maligned prune seems surprisingly unjustified. I too have been scarred by the affront to prunes – embedded in lumpy, thick-skinned luminescent school custard. However, it seems a travesty not to savour the prune, resplendent in the savoury richness of aromatic lamb tagines and delicious with slow cooked braised pork belly.  Not forgetting the delights of prunes in the darkest of dark chocolate cakes, the fruit first being soaked overnight in amaretto or rum, plump and ready to bring an extra special dimension and indulgence to the cake.

Musical interlude: Mastertapes – Wilko Johnson

I’m writing this while listening to the great Wilko Johnson on Radio 4.  The new series of Mastertapes starts with tales from this great Canvey Island guitar hero. Wilko is naturally witty, warm and straight-talking and is discussing the first Dr Feelgood album, 1974’s classic ‘Down by the Jetty’, as well as his terminal illness and current musical projects. It is highly entertaining, although slightly distracting!

This is a great concept for a music series where John Wilson talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. It is recorded live and comes in 2 parts, an A-side where the performer is quizzed by interviewer John Wilson then a second programme, the B-side where the audience get to ask questions.  I recommend catching up with it online if you miss out on this first episode.

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Breton Prune Far

It may be very simple to make, but it is delicious and has a sophisticated, grown-up flavour ‘far’ removed from the nursery or indeed nursing home image the prune conjures up for many and is a patisserie cake in Brittany and Normandy.

I found this particular recipe in Annie Bell’s Baking Bible.  It is the last one in the book. I changed the rum in the original recipe for amaretto. The Far was particularly good with a strong high quality espresso, in this case, a single origin Columbian Bucaramanga which is full flavoured and complex.

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Ingredients

50g unsalted butter, melted

125g golden caster sugar

2 medium eggs

500ml whole milk

1 tbsp. amaretto

1 tsp vanilla extract

125g plain flour

125g ready soaked prunes

Preheat fan oven to 180C

Method

  • Brush a 23cm square cake tin (4cm deep) with butter and dust with caster sugar.
  • Blitz all the ingredients except the prunes in a liquidiser.
  • Pour the batter into the tin and scatter the prunes evenly over the surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
  • Let it cool – it will sink slightly. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.

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33 thoughts on “Biscuits with Bartok 7 – Breton Prune Far (again)

  1. I’ve had no problem viewing either post in a WordPress page in my browser or in the email subscription, but WordPress does seem a bit slow and glitchy today. Sometimes I wish they’d stop their constant tinkering 😉

  2. I had commented on the previous post, but I’ll just do it again! I think it ran more or less as follows: Love Bartok, love Far breton, and love Wilko. I saw him near Lille a few months ago, and it was a wonderful concert, he was so full of positive energy! And he is so witty and funny when he gives interviews!
    As to Far, I never made it using Amaretto (though I love it), I usually just soak the prunes in rum. I should try your version some time!

  3. You, Tracey are very clever. #topicalhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2013/may/28/prunes-dried-plum-making-comeback?CMP=twt_fd

  4. I like prunes. Especially in desserts. Though I always have to stop and think when ordering them in French (the whole prunes versus pruneaux thing always confuses). Your far looks delicious.

  5. I already had it, and commented. ‘Far Breton took me back to gite holidays near Quimper in the 1980’s. Wilko Johnson always on East Anglia TV, doing a farewell tour, as he has terminal cancer.’ Hope you got ‘both’ Tracey. regards, Pete. x

  6. This looks unbelievably good. Prunes and a flan-like custard – be still my heart. I’ve never understood why prunes are (justifiably) embraced in Europe and regarded so disparagingly in the US. Thanks. Ken

    • Thank you Ken, they are fairly disparaged in the UK too, so I take my cue on taste from Europe on this one, generally. I think it will be a regular dish in this house, delivers lots of flavour for minimal effort, ideal when we are busy!

  7. Hmmm – this is the first time I’ve seen this post. How did you know it was not showing up? I’m wondering if my posts are showing up. For the record – have you seen anything from me of late? My last post was berry-infused vodka. This does look lovely and am also a big fan of prunes – in both savoury and sweet dishes. I will give this a try. thanks for posting Fiona.
    Lindy

    • Lindy, it occurred to me after about 12 hrs after posting that a few readers who always ‘like’ pretty quickly hadn’t, in fact, I didn’t recognise any of the gravatars that were there. After Stefan’s post I got suspicious, so followed myself (pretty sad, I know) and it didn’t show in the Reader. The first post did for some though, + suspect this is a random glitch. Didn’t see your last post as been away a lot, not much time, will go back and check it is in the Reader though! Thanks T

      • Interesting Tracey! Hmmm – why did I write Fiona – it is not just WP having issues apparently! Who is Fiona you may well ask… a very good question. And a very nice name but not yours. Damn! But aside from my own personal glitches 😉 it seems wp is also having a few. My comments have not been appearing. I only realized when my reply comments on my own site ceased to show up. But there seem to be glitches in the reader also – sometimes there are only a couple of posts and I can’t scroll through them and yet other times – there are an endless number. All very odd. We’ll soldier on!
        Lindy

      • I prefer Fiona to my own name 🙂 I’ve had the same problem scrolling through the Reader – but again, it is intermittent. Haven’t experience the comment problem, but will watch out for that too, Thanks, Tracey

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