If you think of prunes as a slightly boring health food, you haven’t tried the pruneau d’Agen. This flavourful slow-dried prune is one of France’s greatest natural delicacies. Read on to find out more about this special fruit and its many uses.
The Agen prune is a truly historic hybrid. Plums have been grown in Europe since the Roman Empire, and the European plum (Prunus domestica) is believed to have originated in the Caucasus. In the 12th century, French Benedictine monks returned from the Crusades with plums from Syria. By grafting this new variety onto the local plums, they created the prune d’ente – the pride of south-west France.
Agen prunes go wonderfully in any recipe that calls for prunes. They’ll add a special touch to your Christmas cakes and puddings, mincemeat, muffins, flapjacks, biscuits and bars. For a special winter dish, why not sample Raymond Blanc’s poached quince and winter fruits in spiced wine? Of course you can’t go wrong with the traditional Far Breton, a custard cake from Brittany made with prunes (sometimes soaked in tea or local alcohol).
As the French know well, Agen prunes are a delicious addition to home-made stuffing, and ideally matched to distinctive flavours such as venison, duck, wild boar, pâté and cheese. This recipe for wine-braised duck legs is just one example of Agen prunes at their best in a savoury dish. If you love wild game, you might enjoy this Breton braised rabbit with prunes. Agen prunes are also a fantastic adjunct to roast pheasant, goose and pork.
Moroccan cuisine is another wonderful use for Agen prunes, bringing their unique sweetness to lamb, beef or chicken tagine. As with desserts, any recipe calling for prunes can benefit from their extraordinary quality. They’re also a great addition to your cheeseboard, pairing especially well with aged and blue cheese cheeses, goats’ cheese and sharp cheddar. And who can forget the classic party food Devils on Horseback: stuffed, bacon-wrapped prunes, fried or oven-baked for a sweet and salty treat.
Pitted Agen prunes are just one great part of our extensive range of French food online. At BonneBouffe, we’re always hunting for the best local ingredients for your kitchen. To stay up to date with our offerings, just enter your email below and subscribe to our mailing list.