Friday, October 22, 2010

The Food Desert Project - Far Breton (Dried Fruit in Custard)

My very first food desert recipe was an attempt to make one of our Sunday-breakfast standards: Clafoutis.  Unfortunately, neither sour nor sweet cherries are available regularly in the food desert even in canned form, so at the time, I tried a version with canned pears and rehydrated dried fruit.  The custardy base really needs an assertive accent, and canned pears just didn't do it.

People tend to send me random recipes.  I don't remember why, but I was in an unrelated correspondence with my brother when he forwarded me this recipe for Far Breton or Prunes Far.  Intrigued with the poetic name (unfortunately, in Breton, far prosaically translates to flour) I decided to take a stab at this one instead.  It's much more dense custard than a clafoutis, making it one of those dishes that could easily be either breakfast or dessert, and the prunes are rehydrated overnight in brandy or rum - definitely assertive.

2 cups milk (I use 1%; traditional recipes use whole)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour

1 cup small or medium-size pitted prunes
1/3 cup raisins (I used yellow raisins for the color contrast)
1/2 cup brandy or dark rum

The night before you plan to make the far, put the prunes and raisins in a small container and pour over the brandy.  Allow them to steep in the refrigerator overnight.

040The next morning, pour your dried fruit into a heavy saucepan with whatever liquid remains on low heat.  Allow it to heat slowly as you prepare the batter and pan.  Line an 8" high-sided springform cake pan with aluminum foil (this will prevent leaks as the batter is fairly thin,) and butter and flour the foil VERY WELL - make sure every crevice is buttered, or it will be difficult to unmold.

041Dump all the other ingredients into your blender and blend on high, stopping to scrape down the side as necessary, until completely combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the fruit over the top (the liquid should have been absorbed, but if not, drain the fruit first.)

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, or until a knife poked in the center comes out clean and the far is puffy and golden brown.  Allow to cool thoroughly before unmolding and peeling off the foil; cut into wedges and serve. Nutritional Information.

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