I went to the Farmers Market yesterday in search of that one ingredient that would trigger dessert-mania and found the most ridiculously sweet french prunes, called Quetches in France, and Italian Prunes here in the US... go figure!
The benefits of these prunes healthwise, are that they are good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and lutein and zeaxanthin, pigments that help protect your vision. They are also a great source of antioxidants that will help neutralize harmful free radicals. In addition, their extreme versatility in the kitchen allows them to be paired with both savory and sweet dishes, used in pies and compotes, as their texture will not easily break down and the fruit will remain tender but whole after cooking.
Because this type of fruit contains less water than other varieties of plums, they lend themselves perfectly to desserts.
I would like to offer this special recipes that are easy to make and delicious to enjoy. It does not contain sugar and, after tasting it, you will be amazed at the true richness of the taste of the fruit.
Tarte aux quetches
This pie is a beautiful and tasty fruit pie, enjoyable lukewarm or at room temperature. The addition of ground almonds at the bottom of the pie not only provide additional nutrition but also will absorb the juices of the fruit as they cook so that the crust does not become soggy. Nuts, and especially almonds, are an important ingredient of the low glycemic diet as they provide natural oils that the body needs.
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour (preferred brand is King Arthur Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour)
- 1 Tbsp almond meal
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
- 1 lb quetches (or italian prunes)
- 2 Tbsp agave syrup
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Position the rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the flour and the salt in a food processor along with the butter, cut in pieces. Pulse until the mix ressembles coarse oats, and little balls of butter are still left whole. Add the egg yolk and the milk and pulse until the dough forms a ball in the food processor.
Use a pie pan with removeable bottom. Detach a little portion of the dough from the ball, and line the sides of the pan first, using your fingers to pull the dough. Then flatten the rest of the dough to fill in the center portion. The dough should be uniformly thin.
Spread the almond meal on the bottom of the pan. It will absorb the juices and prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
Split the quetches in half along the pit line. Discard the pit and line them in the pie pan, overlapping them as you go, and starting with the outer circle of the pie pan first.
Pour the agave syrup into a small saucepan (or a microwaveable dish) and add the butter. Melt the two ingredients together, remove from heat and add the vanilla. With a pastry brush, brush the top of the quetches with the syrup and place in the preheated oven to bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the prunes are caramelized and crisp but the dough is golden brown and crisp.
Let rest for 10 minutes to let the juices settle. Enjoy lukewarm or at room temperature with a cloud of whipped cream.