Prunes are dried plums so anywhere you think a plum flavour will work try prunes instead. Because they are intensely flavoured by the drying process, use considerably less than if you were using fresh fruit.
– Agen prunes or Prune d’Agen are highly prized and worth seeking out as they are of a finer quality than many other dried prunes. The fruit are dried for 24 hours and it takes about 2 kilos of fruit to make just one pound of dried fruit which is probably why they are not inexpensive.
– Prune d’Agen or Agen prunes are named after a town in Bordeaux in France.
How to use any dried prune including Prune d’Agen
– Soak dried prunes in good brandy or liqueur and serve them over vanilla ice cream or on their own with sweetened mascarpone (add honey or caster sugar).
– Add agen prunes to beef or game stews – they are particularly good with rabbit. You only need to use about 2 per person if they are large and 3 if they are small.
– Dried prunes are excellent made into a chutney to serve with pate. Experiment with your own recipe but try soaking the prunes in brandy, cook them with onions, sugar, white wine vinegar, a little allspice and chilli until they are soft. You can also include them when making paté or terrines.
– Agen prunes, because of their meaty sweet unctuous texture are excellent in tagines where they soak up flavour.
– Prunes are really good for breakfast with natural yogurt and honey.
– Prunes go particularly well with almonds so they are good in frangipane tarts.
– Prunes and armagnac make a fantastic ice cream. Start with a vanilla custard base and incorporate prunes which you soaked and softened in the brandy.