Jenny Chandler’s take on a traditional dessert from Brittany
This recipe is foolproof, it’s always a winner with complete beginners in my cookery classes. The longer your prunes soak in the rum, the better. I learned to make far Breton from French baker Richard Bertinet and he always has a jar of these delicious prunes on the go. If you’re in a hurry, just heat the prunes in the rum and then leave to soak up the flavour for a couple of hours.
I favour the slightly soft texture of this recipe that can just about be portioned out using a pastry cutter, rather than the firmer ‘cakes’ that are turned out of the mold and served in (to my mind, slightly rubbery) slices. For more tips on making dessert custards, click here.
50ml dark rum
140g caster sugar
150g plain flour
A pinch salt
750ml full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Ahead of time: soak the prunes in the rum for at least a few hours, or overnight (see above).
Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Mix together the sugar and eggs, then gradually stir in the flour and salt and lastly the milk and vanilla. Alternatively, you can whizz the whole lot together in a blender until smooth.
Now, many recipes tell you to rest this batter as you would for Yorkshire pudding—Monsieur Bertinet (a true Breton) does not, so I don’t either!
Put the butter in a baking dish (it’s wise to try pouring just over a litre of water in first, to check the capacity) and place the dish in the oven for 2 mins to melt the butter. Remove from the oven and spread the prunes over the bottom of the dish. Place in the oven to heat through for about 5 mins.
Pour the batter over the prunes and put the dish back in the oven for 10 mins, before lowering the temperature to 180C. Bake for another 25-30 mins until the top is browned and the mixture is set, but a little wobbly in the middle. Give the dish a nudge—it should shudder. Once out of the oven the custard will continue to cook for a few mins and firm up as it cools.
Serve at room temperature or just warm, as a pudding or tea time treat.
Recipe: Jenny Chandler