"This beautiful recipe, given to me by my friend Eric Pernoud, is old and precious. It’s very subtly flavoured with a soft rum pastry and then filled with prunes cooked in Armagnac. This Breton keeps well for about a week and is in fact nicer after few days, when the pastry has softened." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
- 500 g prunes, stones removed
- 1½ tbsp Armagnac
- freshly squeezed orange juice to just cover the prunes
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp rum
- 5 egg yolks
- 450 g (3 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting your surface
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
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.
Place the prunes and orange juice in a saucepan, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until the prunes are soft enough to be mashed. Mash to form a rough puree. Stir in the Armagnac. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
To make the Breton pastry, beat the butter, sugar and salt with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. With the motor running, add the rum, then add 1 egg yolk at a time, beating well after adding each one. Stir in the flour in with a wooden spoon.
Divide the pastry evenly into 2 and shape each piece into a disc. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disc out to form an 8 mm thick round. Place a 25 cm ring tin (you can use the ring part of a springform cake tin) on top and trace, then cut inside so you end up with 2 same-sized rounds. Place each round onto a tray lined with baking paper and then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Place 1 pastry round on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Snip about 1.5 cm off the tip of the piping bag and pipe the prune paste in concentric circles over the pastry, working from the outside in and leaving a 2 cm border around the edge. Brush the beaten egg around the pastry edge and lay the second pastry round carefully over the top.
Brush generously with the beaten egg, set aside for 5 minutes, then brush with another layer of beaten egg, taking care not to miss any pastry. Use a paring knife to lightly drag a lattice pattern through the beaten egg, taking care not to cut the pastry. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the pastry is golden.
Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.
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