• With soft prunes marinated in armagnac, this flan is definitley one to try (SBS Food)

Dany Chouet was one of the pioneers of French food in Australia, opening the minds and tastebuds of several generations at her restaurants in New South Wales before she headed home to the beautiful Périgord where she was born, settling in a centuries-old farmhouse. This Périgourdin prune flan recipe uses the famous plump prunes from nearby Agen with their shiny black skins and soft amber-coloured flesh. Dany removes the stones the day before and soaks the prunes in fragrant armagnac. They are baked in a pastry shell in custard scented with orange blossom water and vanilla. Prepare the shortcrust pastry and marinate the prunes one day ahead.

Serves
10–12

Preparation

1hr
15min

Cooking

50min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 3.7 (62 votes)
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Ingredients

Filling

  • 500 g large prunes, stones removed
  • hot mild tea for soaking the prunes (if needed)
  • 1 tbsp armagnac (or brandy)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour, sifted
  • 300 ml cream
  • 1–2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Sweet shortcrust pastry

  • 250 g (1⅓ cups) plain flour
  • 60 g almond meal
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 175 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • drop of vanilla extract

Cook's notes

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.

Instructions

Soaking time 20 minutes

Chilling time 50 minutes

Marinating time overnight

You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

If the prunes are dry, soak them in tea for about 1 hour, or until soft. Drain well, then toss with the armagnac and leave to marinate overnight.
 
To make the pastry, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your fingers. Add the butter, rubbing it into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix with your hands.
 
Tip the mixture onto a floured work surface and press into a ball without kneading. Flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
 
Butter a 27 cm tart tin. Roll out the pastry to around 3 mm thick and larger than the tin. Roll the pastry around your rolling pin, then lift it onto the tin and unroll the pastry. Press the pastry into the base and sides of the tin, and fold down the edges to create a double thickness of pastry around the sides. Cover the pastry shell with foil and pour pastry weights, rice or beans into the foil to weight down the pastry. Chill in the refrigerator for around 30 minutes, until the pastry is firm.
 
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the pastry shell for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. If any cracks or holes appear, you can patch them with leftover scraps of pastry. 
 
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Combine the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Whisk in the cornflour, followed by the cream, orange blossom water and vanilla.
 
Scatter the prunes inside the pastry shell. Pour the cream mixture over the top. Bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes, or until the filling is golden and just set.  
 
The flan is best served slightly warm.