I swore I’d never do this, but I can’t help myself. This dessert is just too fabulous to keep a secret from my friends. So, even though I always said (when no one was listening) that I’d never use my website to proselytize about food, I’m breaking that vow. And you will be the better for it. Start it Friday and you will have a rustic, lipsmacking treat for New Year’s Eve, one that warms the belly and the soul at the same time.
Herewith is the recipe for the best prune dessert you will ever eat. Yes, prunes. Don’t worry about that “P” word. There are plenty of good ingredients in this to clothes those scary prunes in deliciousness, yet few enough for you to make it in 10 minutes with a few flicks of a whisk. After your first bite, you will run back to the store and carry home as heavy a load of prunes as you can manage, because this is guaranteed to become a favorite.
One disclaimer: I did not make this recipe up myself. Credit goes to one Marie-Claude Gracia who shared the recipe with Patricia Wells, the eminent cookbook-ologist, in 1988. However, I’m sure the dish is a staple of all the unsung farmer’s wives in Haute Savoie, the area of the French Alps where Bernard was born. It uses ingredients common all over the alps, so I expect variations of it are found in all chalets and shepherd huts, wherever there are plum trees laden with heavy purple fruit, cows to offer rich milk and a handful of chickens to provide the eggs that bind the ingredients together.
MILLAS AUX PRUNEAX
1 lb prunes, preferably not the canned ones
5 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tspn vanilla
Do ahead: place prunes in a deep bowl and pour in enough good dark whisky, rum or Cognac to barely cover the dried fruit. Allow to soak on the kitchen counter overnight, covered with cellophane (to keep out that thirsty mouse). The next morning your prunes should be softer, plumper and in all ways happier for their liquor-bath. There’ll likely also be some liquor leftover in the bowl. Don’t throw this away!!
When ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix together all remaining ingredients in a bowl and to combine.
- Butter & flour a 9″ baking dish. I use one that’s about 3″ deep.
- Dump the soaked prunes in the bottom of your baking dish, reserving any remaining liquid to add when you serve your dessert to your adoring public.
- Pour the liquid batter over the prunes.
- Lovingly insert your filled baking dish into the oven.
- Bake 45 minutes till golden brown and set. The Millas will be jiggly when you remove it, but will firm up to a nice custardy consistency as it cools.
- Serve warm to 8-10 of your best friends, with a spoonful of the prune liquor in each bowl.
Leftovers, should you be fortunate to have any, keep well in the refrigerator and are marvelous reheated. Just spoon a helping into a small heatproof bowl, cover tightly with foil and stick in your toaster oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I don’t have a microwave, so cannot recommend reheating in one.
Et voilà! Write me to thank me.