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Prunes in Armagnac

The Challenge:

This week we had two recipes: Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad and this one: Prunes in Armagnac, which you can find here or on page 238 of Foolproof.

Mary's Take:

Prunes. Many a joke has been made about this poor little plum-raisin that has some seriously important health benefits: it's a good source of vitamins, antioxidants, and potassium (move over, bananas), not to mention fiber. Which, obvs, is why they're so popular with, um, people who need help keeping regular.

Which made me a little nervous about making them as a dessert. TMI, I know, but I don't have a problem in that arena. [Lea: Also TMI, but it might be a Titas trait to have a problem in this area, soooo... are you really a Titas?] [Mary: Yes, I have the Titas Hot Feet.] And how many of you can wrap your brain around a bowel-movement-inducing dried fruit becoming a classy, boozy dessert? [Lea: I don't know what you're worried about, prunes have become v. chic, especially when paired with alcohol...maybe it's the alcohol.] It was a hard one for me to get excited about, but, spoiler alert, I was verrrrryy pleasantly surprised.

I was telling our Wine Club ladies, via our Zoom get-together last week, about the recipe and found out a couple of new things about prunes:

Amber: They're no longer always called prunes. Prunes have a stigma. You'll

see a lot more packaging calling them "dried plums". (Clever marketing

folks! Unless you forget that they're prunes and you eat a bunch of


Dawn: "P" fruits - pears, plums, and peaches - are good for pooping (isn't that

an easy mnemonic? I checked it out on the interwebs...they don't

include pineapple, so I guess the rule doesn't apply to all P fruits.).

Good to know, right? Here's another unsolicited fun fact: Sorbitol, and not excessive fiber, has a lot to do with the body's response to eating prunes. It's indigestible, so the body gets rid of it quickly. [Lea: I feel better now knowing that.]

Anyway, Mom and Dad were coming over for dinner, so it was a good time to make a dessert. (I swear it had nothing to do with prunes and older people (and by "older", I mean older than me. Which my parents are, naturally. But totally not old.).)

The recipe calls for the prunes to be plumped by soaking in spiced tea and honey. I'm not a tea drinker (unless sick or at a Chinese restaurant), so I'm not familiar with the different kinds. I stood in the tea aisle at the store for about 12 minutes trying to figure out which box was spiced tea. {Lea: This is me every single week of this challenge. 12 minutes in an aisle, trying to find some random ingredient.] There's orange spiced, there's a black tea that had in the description that it's a "secret recipe of orange rind and sweet spice" (sounded a little spiced to me), there's the kind that makes you go to sleep and then there's a spiced chai one. Confusing. I had to ask a passerby for help. Turns out chai isn't a milky tea like I thought. Who knew? I went with that one based on her recommendation.

After the prunes are plumped, they soak for 6-12 hours in a mixture of Armagnac, vanilla, orange juice, cinnamon, and lemon. [Lea: What's Armagnac?] What is Armagnac, you ask? Armagnac is a French brandy similar to cognac. As it's $50 a bottle, I took a little budget-friendly liberty and substituted Courvoisier that we already had for the Armagnac. (I always want to call it CourvoiTHier, à la Tim Meadows as The Ladies' Man on SNL.) Hopefully, the change didn't make too much of a difference.

To serve, spoon the drunken prunes and some of the juice into a bowl, give it a scoop of honey vanilla ice cream and drizzle over more cognac, honey, and lemon zest.

The Verdict

As I was hesitant to have too much of the good thing that is the prune, I'd say I used it as a topping for ice cream, instead of how it was intended: as a stewed fruit dessert with a little ice cream on the side. It was actually really good. I mean, boozy desserts are some of my favorites (shocker) -- think bread pudding with whiskey sauce, rum bundt cake, and, my favorite, Boozy Triple Irish Trifle. (You must make that last one.) Our vanilla ice cream was very soft (problem with the outdoor freezer), so I also offered Häagen-Dasz Whiskey Hazlenut Latte ice cream (see?) if anyone wanted it.

John: It's a flavorful dessert. Goes nicely with the ice cream. (John's review may or may not have been reported from the lavatory. Just kidding.)

Mom: Tastes like prunes. (That's when I remembered I was supposed to drizzle and zest the other stuff on I did. It made a difference.)

Dad: This is great. I especially like the cognac. (Runs in the family.)

Totally not a pretty pic, but take a look at the one in the recipe link...much more appealing!

And the next day, in case you were wondering? Regular as usual!

Lea's Take:

Y'all will be shocked (shocked!) to hear I didn't make this one. Here's the deal. Josh did the grocery shopping this week. He's not a big believer in this challenge when he thinks no one will eat it. I personally think it's that he doesn't want to buy what he doesn't want to eat. Which, let's face it - who does? Anyway, prunes? Then beets? Forget it. It was a fail of a week for us.

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Dec 12, 2020

Not sure about the puns I am sure it was delicious on ice cream!! Do like the salad with beats, so good for you❣️

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