Sunday, 24 June 2012

Far aux Pruneaux

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom at Belleau Kitchen has asked us to find a recipe from the middle of a randomly chosen book.  So I randomly selected the shelf of shorter books (in height, not length), closed my eyes and grabbed a paperback copy of ‘Jenny Baker’s Cuisine Grandmère’. This is a fine collection of recipes from Northern France published back in the nineties. Halfway through I found myself at a recipe for Far aux Pruneaux, the classic dish from Brittany. The far is a batter pudding containing prunes and not only is it really easy to make, it’s also delicious.

It’s possible to make this dish with fruits other than prunes – I know that there are many people who hate the reviled prune for some reason. Chunks of apple fried in butter are particularly nice as an alternative but you could also use poached pears or dried fruit such as big, juicy raisins.

I’ve come across many versions of this recipe and I confess that I’ve not stuck faithfully to Ms Baker’s ingredients and method. There’s no real reason for this other than I suppose I’m stuck in my ways. For instance, Ms Baker suggests using calvados in the recipe and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that suggestion but whenever I think of Breton cakes or puddings then I think about rum. Rum turns up a lot – I think rum used to be imported through Brittany. Or maybe I’m talking nonsense again and they just like the stuff. If you want to avoid the alcohol, you could use weak, black tea instead.

The far is very often eaten warm as a dessert, probably with a little crème fraîche alongside, but I have to confess that I rather like it as a snack at room temperature. (Eating it while wandering along a Brittany beach would be particularly pleasant.) It’s also very good as part of a lazy Sunday breakfast, in my opinion.
Far aux Pruneaux
You should get 10 decent sized pieces from this amount of ingredients.

225 g prunes (without stones)
3 tbsp rum or calvados
3 eggs
50 g vanilla sugar plus 30 g caster sugar (or use 80 g caster and add a little vanilla extract)
125 g plain flour, sieved
530 ml full-fat milk
Butter for the dish

Soak the prunes in your chosen alcohol for a few hours or overnight.

You need a bigger dish for this pudding than you might think due to significant expansion potential. A 2 litre shallow gratin dish is ideal. Butter the dish thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Traditionally, of course, the dish is made strictly manually but I use a stand mixer to make it even easier. Beat the eggs well, then beat in the sugar followed by the flour. Continue beating as you gradually pour in the milk. Finally, stir in the prunes and any remaining rum or calvados.

Pour the mixture into the buttered dish, distributing the prunes fairly evenly but randomly. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes until the far has puffed up and is golden brown on top. I find that the top of the far can look a little uneven and some people sprinkle on icing sugar to make it prettier. Personally I think a bit of variation in the top is a good thing. Cut into slices and eat whenever and however you please.

13 comments:

  1. It looks very intriguing. I think I've made something similar when I made a clafouti but this looks slightly denser. I'm not a huge fan of that solid custardy texture but I must agree that the prunes call to me and I do have a packet of prunes in the cupboard that may be destined for this dessert. Another lovely French recipe but wonderful nonetheless! Thanks so much for entering this month and thanks for the lovely words you left on my blog last week x

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    1. Now don't get me involved in a 'what's the difference between a far and a clafouti?' debate. Stronger men than I have been reduced to quivering wrecks by that question. Let's just play it safe and call everything that looks like this a 'far' when in Brittany. I know what you mean about custardy texture, but I've really learned to love it.

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  2. this looks very tasty, gonna have to give this ago.

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  3. This looks really tasty...I'd love to try some...I bet the baking of prunes in a dessert will actually improve some people's opinion of them!! I think I'd go for this warm with the creme fraiche!! :-)

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  4. Now I know what the Gite owner presented us with on our last holiday in Brittany!

    It was a lot for me to get through on my own, as Hubs doesn't like this sort of pudding. LOL!

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  5. I have just made some coffee and how I would wish to have a slice of that by the side, looks scrumptious!

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  6. Mmmmm this sounds fantastic, it will be on the menu before the week is out. Thanks Diane

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  7. Another book to try to add to my collection and a wonderful gateau too. Almost looks like a clafoutis, but with more body - it is, however, a dessert that I would devour! Karen

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  8. Oh my! How delicious! Gran used to make this for me all the time and she makes them with raisins....: ) Thank you for sharing this recipe. I can now make them for my kiddies and hub and tell them the story of how gran used to make them for me : ) Bookmarked it! : ) So happy!

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  9. I love deserts like this, egg custards and prunes...yum...

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  10. Hi, thanks for your comment on my blog. I am actually from Brittany and I *obviously* love the Far. We usually find 2 types of Far: a plain one and one with prune. I have to say, yours looks particularly good. I cant wait to go back home to have some :)
    PS: Please don't use any other fruit than prune, don't eat it with cream and don't compare it to clafoutis ;)

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  11. I love Far Breton but havent had it since I was last in Brittany. That was 1997! I am going to enjoy recreating my own with your recipe. So thank you.

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