Taking on David's challenge of Prune Blogging Thursday with the serious (though not the skill) of an Iron Chef, I set off with excitment in search of what he claimed were the best prunes in the world. What he failed to mention is that they are also the most expensive prunes in the world. Pruneaux d'Agen. Delicious indeed.
David gave me this idea so I take none of the credit other than simply making it, and with what's left of my limited number of brain cells, making is much easier than thinking these days. So on David's suggestion, I gave it whirl - well the ice cream machine gave it a whirl - and somehow, thanks to little prune fairies no doubt, the most delicious Glace du Pruneaux d'Agen et Armagnac or Prune and Brandy Ice Cream emerged from my little frozen miracle machine.
I halfed and stewed about 5 of these precocious prunes in a generous cup of brandy until good and mushy. I then added it all to the creme anglaise base and let it seep. I strained out the prune skins, chopped them up and added them to the ice cream as it was mixing. Even I, the most pastry-dessert-uncoordinated-inept person wielding a spatula, must admit that it was delicious. But once again, it was the quality of the ingredients. Let's not forget the most expensive prunes in the world, fresh eggs right off the farm from happy chickens (remember what they say about happy cows!), and freshly churned cream ladeled out of a 20 liter milk container. Hard to go wrong.
Glace du Pruneaux d'Agen et Armagnac
- 5 big fat creamy plump prunes, preferably Pruneaux d'Agen, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup Armagnac
- 500 ml (approx 18 oz) milk
- 500 ml (approx 18 oz) cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 200 g (approx 7 oz) sugar
1. Pour Armagnac into a pan and place the prunes cut side down in the pan. cook over medium heat until soft.
2. Put milk and cream into a cold pot and place it on the stove.
2. Bring this mixture to a boil, add the prune mixture, stir to combine and remove from heat.
3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive bowl until it is pale yellow. this is called “blanchir” or to whiten.
4. slowly add the hot milk/cream/prune mixture to the yolks/sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
5. Pour this mixture back into the pot and return to the stove top. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly, making sure you scrape the inside corners of the pot.
6. The cream is ready when it is “nappant” or naps the back of the spoon. Run your finger down the back of a spoon and if the mixture doesn’t fill in, it is ready. The picture below is an example of “nappant”.
7. Strain through a chinois (fine strainer) into an ice bath or a bowl set over another bowl of ice. Stir the mixture - this will cool it down quickly.
8. When the mixture is room temp, add it to the ice cream machine and let’er rip! chop up the prune skins and add it to the machine as it is mixing. Freeze and serve. Bon appetit.
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