25 March 2007
It is rare that I make any recipe twice in a row- part of the problem with my curious cooking mind is that I am always ready to move on to the next thing, tackle the next recipe in the pile. A good recipe gets checked and neatly kept for the future, while a bad one is shoved aside in an attempt to forget it’s failures, either way, I’m on to the something new.
So it’s pretty unusual that after we gobbled up the first far breton I made, that I turned around and made another one, exactly the same. That first one was so good, we just hadn’t had our fill yet. And when having brunch the following weekend, I pulled it out again, tried, true, and soon devoured. Luckily, this is also an easy one, a simple batter that bakes to custardy smooth perfection, studded with plump, juicy prunes. I did find refrigerating the batter overnight made a difference in the smooth texture, and I’ll have to ask that you do the same. This actually makes your life super-easy if you are planning to serve this for brunch; and if you’re serving it for dessert, you can give it a few good hours rest while you are preparing dinner. And if you find yourself making it again when you’ve finished the first one, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sort of like a custardy pancake, this is equally good for breakfast or dessert. Adapted from Dorie Greenspan.
3 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup Armagnac or 1 cup hot tea, such as Earl Grey
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Place eggs, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and melted butter in a blender or food processor and blend for 1 minute. Add flour, and pulse several times. Pour batter into a pitcher, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
2. Meanwhile, place prunes, 1/4 cup water, and Armagnac in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until prunes are plumped and the alcohol no longer smells pungent, a few minutes; set aside to cool. If using tea, place prunes in a heatproof bowl and pour tea evenly over fruit. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and set aside.
3. Place rack in center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Butter an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan; or use an 8 inch skillet. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
4. Remove batter from refrigerator and whisk to reblend. Forcefully tap the bottom of the pitcher on your work surface to break any top bubbles. Pour batter into prepared pan. Add the prunes, evenly distributing them within the batter; discard any remaining soaking liquid. Bake until top of the cake is puffed and brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
*My notes: Dorie says to use whole milk but I've used lowfat and produced very pleasing, if slightly less rich, results. Also, look for good quality plump prunes, I used ones that come vacuum sealed to help keep them moist.