prune

Let’s face it: the last time you bought prunes or prune juice may have been when you needed to get yourself or your baby a bit more… *ahem*… regular. While there’s no doubting that prunes are useful for their most famous purpose, it’s a shame that this delicious dried fruit has obtained such a reputation, when it’s so much more!

I’ll be the first to admit that, until I moved to France, I had no idea that prunes were as delicious as they are. Here in France, there isn’t so much stigma attached to the dried plum — like dried apricots or raisins, prunes find their way into both sweet and savory dishes. The best news of all? Organic California prunes are easy to find, and they’re the perfect ingredient to recreate these classics at home.

Appetizer: Pruneaux Farcis

Stuffed prunes make for a pretty and simple hors d’oeuvre. Served atop a plain green salad, these are a great appetizer. You can even serve them in place of or along side a cheese course. Simply split prunes and remove the pit. Whip blue cheese with a bit of butter to make a paste, and use a pastry bag to pipe it into the prunes. Those who are wary of blue cheese can sub goat cheese, though in this case, there’s no need to add butter.

Main: Roti de Porc Au Miel et Aux Pruneaux

A pork roast is a great vehicle for the sweet flavors of prunes. Pork is great roasted, but the relatively mild flavor of the meat allows the prunes to take on an important role in flavoring the pork.

Smooth a half-cup of honey over a pork roast, and pierce it all over with whole cloves: this step is not only for flavor, but also a lovely decoration for the final roast, so try to make a pattern or design with the cloves. Roast the pork for an hour and a half (for a 2 lb. roast). Fifteen minutes before the end of roasting, scatter 10 halved prunes into the bottom of the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Dessert: Far Breton

Far breton is a typical cake from the Brittany region of France. It’s similar to a clafoutis or French-style flan in texture; the key to a delicious far is to add as many prunes as possible! Feel free to experiment with flavorings. Some recipes, like this one, include raisins, while more traditional ones don’t. Some like the addition of vanilla; others prefer the deeper flavor of Armagnac or Cognac. Whatever you choose, make sure your organic prunes are the star of the dessert!

If you’re looking for an easier prune dessert, look no further than this OrganicAuthority favorite!

image: eLaboureur