Friday, October 24, 2008

Prune and Apple Compote in Vanilla and Earl Grey Tea


I made this as a special treat for my sister, who is visiting from Chicago.  She's always a pleasure to cook for because she loves to eat.  I'm not calling her a piggy (yes I am) but it is always gratifying to share food with someone who really loves it.  This fruit compote is truly delicious, almost indescribably so.  It comes from my beloved In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley, and when served over french toast makes for a sublime breakfast.  In fact, Daley says that, served that way, it was the star of Sunday brunch at the Delisle Bistro and Wine Bar, where she worked with chefs David van den Driesschen and Chris McDonald.  In the book, Daley also provides a recipe for Armagnac Parfait over which to drizzle the compote, but for now we decided to stick with french toast.  



Daley recommends using Agen prunes, which are simply prunes imported from the Agen region of France.  If you're lucky enough to find them, great.  I was not so lucky.  Instead, I just used plump, juicy, dried prunes from Eli's.  Just make sure to use unsulphured dried prunes regardless. This was the first time I'd ever used an actual vanilla bean, and let me tell you, there is no comparison.  It seems to be as much about fragrance as about flavor, and combined with the Earl Grey Tea from Twinings (Daley says this brand is the best) the compote was amazing.

This is a good recipe to start on a Saturday and enjoy on a Sunday since the prunes require 3 hours of steeping in the tea, and the compote needs 24 hours of refrigerated melding time.  But it's easy to put together and then you'll be all set for a spectacular Sunday morning.


Prune and Apple Compote in Vanilla and Earl Grey Tea over French Toast

3/4 pound pitted prunes, try to find Agen if you can
2 cups water
2 bags Earl Grey, Twinings is available
3 cups water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split
3-4 firm, semi-tart apples like Cortland


Boil the 2 cups of water with the tea bags, then pour over the prunes.  Allow to steep for 3 hours.

In the meantime, peel, core and cut your apples into 8ths.  Combine the 3 cups water, the vanilla bean and the sugar in a large pot and cook gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil.  Boil for 4-5 minutes then add the apples.  Return to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.  Put the mixture in a container to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until the prunes are ready.  

Once the prunes have steeped, drain them and add them to the apple mixture.  Refrigerate for 24 hours so that the flavors can mature and meld.  Serve over french toast, ice cream, or anything else that catches your eye.



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I'm sending this post to Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey? for Monthly Mingle 26: Coffee & Tea.  

12 comments:

Trisha said...

Totally gorgeous. I have a serious pear stash at the moment -- suppose I can adapt this one to use a few?

Andrea said...

Hi Trisha, I think you could use pears in place of apples since they're really only boiled for a minute. Maybe use crisp ones, like Asian pears. Let me know how it works out!

Cakespy said...

Who knew that prunes could be so sexy? I'm keeping this one on file, baby!

Katie said...

My mouth is watering! This looks incredible.

Where did you get your vanilla bean? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Vera said...

Andrea, I love every single component of this dish! Put together they must taste unbelievably good!

matrimonycake said...

How can you call Chrissy a piggy - she is an epicurean

Nate-n-Annie said...

wow, Earl Gray-steeped prunes. Sounds delicious!

jen said...

love your photography, always.
and this looks especially delicious.
I love having people over who love food too. It's always nice when you don't want to end up with lots of leftovers.

Meeta K said...

now this is a unique way to enjoy french toast! lovely idea andrea and so nice to have you over for the mingle!

Andrea said...

Hi Cakespy, thanks for the comment! Sometimes I like to call them "dried plums" instead so they don't sound quite so geriatric.

Hi Katie, I got my vanilla bean at Eli's, the same place where I got the prunes, it's linked in the post. You might be able to find them at Whole Foods, and I'm also pretty sure you could order some from Penzeys Spices which is linked on my sidebar. Hope that helps!

Vera and Nate-n-Annie, thanks! If you decide to try these, they're also amazing over yogurt and oatmeal!

Matrimonycake, she's a piggy epicurean!

Jen, I couldn't agree more. It's so nice to have people over who love food as much as I do!

Meeta, thanks for the comment and thanks especially for hosting such a great event!

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