Posts Tagged ‘Armagnac’

Agen Prune Ice Cream with Armagnac

Prune Ice CreamI have made no secret of my love for the regional prunes of the Lot-et-Garonne, the beautiful pruneaux d’Agen.
A while ago I promised you a recipe for ice cream with French prunes and Armagnac, but I realized it was still a bit too cold and not many would be interested in an ice cream recipe. However, spring is on its way, and in some parts of the world, it’s already quite warm! In fact, this morning I saw pictures of friends inthe south of France who were already enjoying the beach! Now’s a good time as ever to share that recipe.
So forget the usual rum-raisin variety — the flavor of this Armagnac-infused ice cream is definitely more elegant. Served with an espresso, it makes the perfect ending to your meal. Or serve a single boule over a warm fondant au chocolat for a taste of heaven on earth!

Agen Prune Ice Cream Armagnac
Makes about 1 liter

  • 15 Pruneaux d’Agen, chopped
  • 105ml Armagnac
  • 800ml single cream
  • 1 vanilla pod. split in half and seeds scraped out
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 170g caster sugar

 Soak the chopped prunes in 75ml of Armagnac overnight. The following day, gently cook the prunes and the rest of the Armagnac (in a covered saucepan) for about 3 minutes. Allow to cool. Place the cream, vanilla seeds and vanilla pod in a large saucepan. Heat gently for 3 minutes taking care not to boil the cream. Remove from the heat, take out the vanilla pod and set aside. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar until pale and creamy. Add a little of the egg mixture to the cream and whisk well. Pour the rest of the eggs into the saucepan with the cream, start whisking immediately and return to the heat. Cook over a very low heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is thickened (10-15 minutes) remove from the heat, stir in prunes and Armagnac and pour into a bowl set over iced water. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. Churn (in batches if necessary) in an ice cream machine. Should you not have an ice cream machine, the freezer works fine too. In that case, you won’t need to refrigerate overnight.

 

Agen Prune Cake with Armagnac

Prune cakeSweet, glossy and bursting with flavor, Agen prunes have been part of south-west France’s gastronomic history since the 12th century. During that time, crusaders returned back from Syria with Damson plum trees which the Bendectine monks of Clairac, not far from Agen, crossed with their own, local plum variety. The result was a new kind of plum which they called the Ente plum. Since then, the plum has been used to produce the famous pruneaux d’Agen, named after the city from which the prunes were shipped all over Europe. Today, more than half of the production of the fruit is still taking place in the Lot-et-Garonne.
The dark plums are harvested between mid-August and mid-September. By that time, they are so ripe and sun-drenched that the trees either naturally drop them or need nothing more than a gentle shake to let them fall to into the harvesting nets. After careful sorting, the best fruits are dried and preserved for year-round use.
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Soupe à l’oignon

Soupe à l'oignonHere is my recipe for another very popular French classic, soupe à l’oignon. The secret to making a good onion soup is to give the onions enough time to cook and almost caramelize in order for them to release their sugars and sweet flavor. I like to leave my onions to gently cook for at least 45 minutes. The addition of Armagnac adds a fine touch to the soup. It’s a great soup to serve during a chilly autumn day or a snowy winter afternoon, though I certainly wouldn’t turn it down in the middle of summer!
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