Breton Far, a tart come flan was always a firm family favourite when we were on holiday in Brittany. The nearest thing I can liken it to is clafoutis, which is equally as delicious. The calvados soaked prunes in our version of this classic lifts the dish to another level. First here’s a little tour round one of my favourite areas of France, Brittany.
Brittany is a cultural region in the north-west of France. Covering the western part of Armorica, as it was known during the period of Roman occupation, Brittany subsequently became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain (as opposed to Great Britain). It is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the south. The historical province of Brittany is now split among five French departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d’Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north east, Loire-Atlantique in the south east and Morbihan in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations.
Our pudding today is the Far Breton (also Breton Far), a traditional dessert from the Brittany region in France, which resembles a clafoutis. The batter is a flan-style eggs-and-milk custard with flour added. Prunes or raisins are usuallty added to this batter. Many recent recipes suggest soaking the dried fruits in alcohol, which is not traditional practice but is usually popular! Far Breton, when served in Brittany is often cooked to a much more “burned” appearance than most recipes; the top of the custard appears nearly blackened rather than golden-brown.
This is by far my favourite French dessert/ coffee accompaniment.
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1 hr 5 min
1 hr 5 min
- 150g pitted prunes
- 125g plain flour
- 125g sugar
- a pinch of sea salt
- 4 eggs
- 750ml whole milk
- A large slug of calvados
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar ( just pop a couple of vanilla pods in a jam jar and fill with sugar. Leave for a couple of weeks)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 240 C / gas mark 9.
- Grease a large shallow baking dish with butter
- Place the pitted prunes stones in a saucepan with just enough water and the calvados to cover them.
- Simmer for about 12-15 minutes.The prunes should be tender but should still hold their shape.
- Drain the prunes, then place them in the base of the prepared dish.
- Combine the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one goes in.
- Gradually add the milk to the mixture, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour the batter over the prunes, trying not to displace them too much.
- Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then for a further 30 minutes at 200 C / Gas 6, or until the top is browned and the filling is firm and has risen a little.
A Postcard From France http://apostcardfromfrance.com/
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