With spring upon us and with longer hours of daylight I feel the return of my desire to cook on the fly and on a whim. Not that I don’t cook otherwise, but it is routine every day stuff and on some days I prefer to be a sous-chef, as *A* is the better cook and blazing fast too.
Me on the other hand, I tend to cook more slowly, need to have a glass of wine to sip as I cook, listen to the news on the radio and have a comfortable pace. So I had some time yesterday and tried my hand at a dessert that I read about in the NY Times here. The recipe with modifications is below, as are quick pictures and probably don’t do justice to how well this dish turned out. No credit to me, the recipe is the trick. A related article in the times talks about how this dessert is more a European thing and not American, well it is now ;-)
Often on a dessert table in a bistro or trattoria in Europe there will be a big
bowl of plump prunes poached in wine. It’s a dessert I love, but one that is
rarely offered in the United States. Except at my house
The dessert was delicious, *A* approved of it. I think it will taste better today as it will have chilled well and the prunes will have had more time to soak in that lovely blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorn and orange. Coupled with cream this was a delightful change as a dessert.
On the stove...
Rushed picture.. sorry, I might have a better one tonight in a wine goblet and all.
Time: 30 minutes plus cooling
2 cups dry red wine, preferably from Navarre. (I used a Chianti any other dry wine would do too. I used about 3/4 of the wine, the rest was consumed during cooking) ;-)
2 3-inch strips orange peel
10 black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole allspice ( I did not have all spice so I used a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg instead)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound prunes with pits, or 12 ounces pitted prunes. (I used pitted prunes, and like Florence said in the article, the prunes feel more fleshy and nuttier)
2 tablespoons triple sec
Softly whipped heavy cream or crème fraîche, optional, for serving. (I used light whipped cream).
1. Combine wine, orange peel, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Stir in sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Add prunes, simmer 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in triple sec.
2. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside up to 3 hours before serving, turning prunes in wine syrup from time to time. Strain, reserving syrup in a bowl. Return prunes to syrup and discard spices. Serve at once, with a dollop of cream if desired, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: 4 servings.