Photo by Tamara West
Isabelle Boulliat is the winner of this month’s reader recipe competition with her recipe for a traditional French pudding. On her entry she says: This is an easy recipe that is very tasty and so versatile that in France it has two different names and uses different fruits depending on whether you live in Brittany in the west or Lorraine in the east.
This recipe is made with pitted dried plums (pruneaux) and is found in Brittany under the name of Far Breton. Where I come from in Lorraine, we use fresh, whole cherries (usually the darker, smaller kind), but cherries are quite dear in New Zealand, so I now make the Brittany version most of the time. But don’t stop at dried plums and fresh cherries, you can use dried currants, fresh plums and even apricots in season.
- Soak the prunes in warm water with the tea bags for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 200C. In a pot, melt 25g of the butter, add the milk and heat until just warm.
- In a bowl cream the eggs and sugar then beat in the salt and flour.
- Gently mix the milk into the flour mixture. You can add a dash of dark rum too at this point.
- Place the remaining 25g butter in a large baking dish and put it in the oven to melt. Ensure it spreads all over the bottom of the dish.
- Drain the prunes and place them in the bottom of the dish, then gently pour the batter on top.
- For added calories (Brittany is known for using lots of cream and butter in cooking) add small pieces of extra butter on top.
- Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the sides start to look like they are setting. Reduce the heat to 160C and bake for about 50 minutes until the top looks nice and caramel coloured. Enjoy warm or cold from the fridge.
French desserts like this one do not need whipped cream or icecream to accompany them. I thought I’d make a note of that based on my friend’s experience when she took one to her in-laws (she’s French, he’s Kiwi) and the mum sent the dad to the nearest dairy in a panic to get some cream to whip!