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What exactly isn’t delicious about stewed prunes?


Just because they make you poop doesn’t mean they’re not good! As a matter of culinary fact, they can be downright sumptuous! There’s no real excuse not to make them; it’s so easy to do. Maybe you just need a little motivation as to what to do with them? Certainly you don’t need to plug your nose and down the hatch! Prunes are just dried plums. No one ever balked at plums, did they?


WHAT TO DO WITH STEWED PRUNES


Dessert Topping — Add port or cognac while stewing to give the prunes a deep richness for topping over ice cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone. A not-too-sweet but fancy dessert... and no one will see it coming. They’ll say, “OMGGGG!!! Are these prunes??? This is soooo goooood!!!”


Oatmeal Topping — What a yummy and healthy treat over your morning hot cereal. They’re sweet enough that you won’t need to add maple syrup, unless you’ve got a sweet tooth. And you won’t even have to take your morning constitutional.


Viking Yogurt Topping — What’s viking yogurt??? It's millenium-old yogurt that's traveled thousands of miles just to get to The Hen. Poor you if you don't have any. You can always just use a plain old ho-hum yogurt.


Pureed — I made poached pears with pureed prune compote one fall evening. It was lovely! I stew them up with spices and brandy, then pureed in my food processor. I put the sauce back on low heat, added maple syrup, preserved lemon (or lemon zest), and a little butter.


HOW TO MAKE BASIC STEWED PRUNES


Ingredients

Handful of prunes

Water to cover by 1/2 inch or so

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick (a sprinkling of mulling spices works great too!)


Optional additions (but not necessary all at the same time!) :

1-2 whole cardamom pods

1 star anise

2 thin slices preserved lemon or sprinkling of lemon zest

Maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey (add honey at end)

Port, brandy or cognac

1 bay leaf

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. (Here I've added a cinnamon stick, two whole allspice, and a few whole crushed cardamom pods. Later I threw in a few thin slices of preserved lemon.)

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes.


Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the sauce to mature and thicken. See how the sweet sauce is developing below? The longer you let the prunes sit, the more unctuous these saucey babies will be.


They can be kept covered in the refrigerator for at least a week. I've kept them longer with no issues. If you want to remove the spices before serving, feel free. I always just leave them in and eat around them. But that's just me.


The final picture above is stewed prunes served with Viking Yogurt. I drizzled the prune sauce over and sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds. I took two photos and then devoured it!!!

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