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November 2010 COTM: WOLFERT- Desserts

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  1. PRUNES IN ARMAGNAC, COSWF (2005) p. 397, also in 1988 book.

    If was a pleasure to make this recipe again. It is a base recipe for several other desserts and also can be used with savory foods, but I love just eating a prune and its syrup alone, with ice cream or a piece of pound cake. Lasts indefinitely on the shelf..

    2 lbs. Dried prunes, preferably with pits tho it works without are first soaked in warm tea, linden, chamomile or pekoe until softened (PW says overnight). I used linden, prunes are drained then dried (I do not dry). The prunes are transferred to a preserving/canning jar. A strong sugar syrup (1 C sugar/1/2 cup water is made, cooled then added, followed by armagnac to cover (recipe says this is about 3 cups. the top is closed and prunes are allowed to age at least 15 days - She says they last 1 year, I say they last much longer if you let them.

    Mellow and wonderful.

    Note, in the first book PW says in the footnote that they soak in linden tea in the SW, in the SW she says chamomile at the same spot. in both cases, she specifies linden or orange pekoe in the actual recipe . so go figure.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Are these the prunes I would find in a Sunsweet package? I wonder if dried prunes in SW France are a different product. Just curious.

      1. re: blue room

        Wolferts book says they are the same type of prune in France and USA. I guess if you want prunes grown in france you can find those from Agen at TJs and elsewhere sometimes. Anyway, I went to fairway (NY) and bought unpitted prunes for this project, but I am sure any american dried prunes, pitted like the big bags I buy at costco or unpitted, would be luscious.

        1. re: jen kalb

          jen kalb: I've made the prunes in armagnac a bunch of times with great results every time. They are fabulous over ice cream or with plain pound cake. You've spurred me on to make them again. Thanks.

          1. re: oakjoan

            I love those too, there's a cheesecake with a ring of them in a Maida Heatter book that is completely wonderful.

    2. PRESERVED SPICED PEARS IN RED WINE WITH ARMAGNAC, TCOSF (2005), P. 440 - also in earlier book.
      I enjoyed making this relatively simple recipe - lovely looks smells and fun getting out some canning gear. 2 quart mason jars met my needs (widemouth better than regular jars I used).
      4 d'anjou pears (I used 5) are peeled,, placed in acidulated water. It was evident that PW looked to use whole pears - but they would not fit in my reg mouth canning jars so I halved and cored them.
      a syrup is made of 1-1/2 C of sugar and 3-1/2 C of full bodied red wine, after 1 min of boiling and dissolution of the sugard, the peeled pears are added and simmered for 3 min. Pears are then transferred to sterilized jars. My half pears just barely slipped in to the jars.
      The syrup is then boiled down for 4-5 min, after which 1 tbsp of washed black peppercorns and 1/2 C armagnac are added and brought to a boil. Syrup is poured over the pears to fill the jars. Tapped to release air from pockets. The clean lids and rings are put in place and the jars are processed for 1 hour. I set the 2 jars in the colander portion of my large pasta pot and used a steaming method rather than full water bath for cooking/sterilization. Upon removal I tightened down the rings, the jars sealed and cooled and I set them away in the closet for the recommended 3 mo maturation.

      this is a beautiful product and the syrup tastes lovely. Will report back in 3 months when we can taste it.

      1. FLAGNARDE, BATTER CAKE WITH FRESH PEARS FROM THE CORREZE, COSWF (2005) P. 365, 1983, P. 299. A real winner for us, accompanied by armagnac, a simple batter cake similar to a popover perfumed by pears and a bit of rum and sweetened with sprinked sugar.
        Very pretty too. See pic attached.

        3 eggs are beaten and mixed with 7 oz of pastry flour, a pinch of salt and then, gradually, 1 c of warm milk., stirred til smooth. The recipe suggests putting through a sieve at this point, I skipped this step. the batter rests for 1-2.5 hours and is then layered in a 8-9 in well buttered round metal (this is specified) pan with thinly sliced comice or d'anjou pears (I used the comice and omitted the peeling step, with a layer of the batter on the bottom then the pears, then the remaining batter. the top is dotted with butter (2 tbsp total in recipe for dotting and greasing pan) and put into the lower third of a 450F oven for 15 min, then reduced to 400F for an additional 30-35 min til puffed and brown. Release sides with a spatula, lift onto serving plate , sprinkle generously with sugar and serve immediately (PW says wi 5 min tho it was pretty hot - look out..

        This was a delicate and elegant dessert, with a subtle pear fragrance an perfectly complemented by the armagnac we swilled (exaggerating) with it to enjoy the "dancing fire" and "velvet flame" (p.2). true enough. this is certainly ample for 4 - there were 3 of us, we had seconds and husband is anticipating leftovers for breakfast tomorrow am (with more armagnac) It is not the sort of thing that keeps.
        .

         
        6 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb

          What a perfectly lovely flaugnarde!

          Seriously, a good looking dessert -- I suppose the closest I've come to this is a Dutch pancake, no fruit. Thanks for this!

          1. re: blue room

            jen kalb: That photo is gorgeous. I was waffling about what to make for my husband's birthday dinner and finally decided on a pear and chocolate cake recipe from Al di La recipe in Brooklyn. That cake is spectacularly delicious, but I still want to make the Wolfert pear cake. Mmmm.

            1. re: oakjoan

              how do you like that blackberry pic snapped at the dinner table? seriously I think the attractivenes was accentuated by the fact I did not peel the pears, which created some curving lines. Given that the pears are barely cooked they probably would be a tiny bit better peeled. but it did not interfere with the eating.

          2. re: jen kalb

            That cake looks gorgeous. I almost made it for my husband's birthday dinner last week, but decided to make the pear and chocolate cake from a recipe of Al di La in Brooklyn. That was fantastic, but next party it's the flaugnarde.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Agree- looks and sounds gorgeous. Sold.