The south-west region around Toulouse produces some very hearty food. Gabriel visits one of the oldest makers of Armagnac and enjoys a sip or two of the golden drop.
- 15 prunes, pitted, halved
- 50 ml Armagnac
- 200 g caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 300 ml whipping cream
- 2 tsp coffee essence
- 8-16 crystallised violets, optional
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need a (1 litre) 4-cup mould for this recipe.
Standing time1 hour
Freezing time 8 hours
Place the prunes and Armagnac in a bowl, stir well and leave to macerate for at least 1 hour.
Place the sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar syrup takes on a slight yellow tinge.
Place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until thick and pale. With the motor running, gradually add the syrup and beat for another 10 minutes or until thick and cold.
Meanwhile, whisk the cream until soft peaks form.
Gently mix in the macerated prunes and coffee essence. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Transfer to a mould, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 8 hours.
To serve, dip the base of the mould briefly in warm water, then place a serving plate on top of the mould and invert the parfait onto it. Garnish with crystallised violets, if using and, if you wish, a few extra prunes soaked in Armagnac.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
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