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Far Aux Pruneaux (Far Breton)

A few days ago, Michèle, my mother-in-law found herself with a litre of fresh cow's milk still sitting in the fridge untouched. She needed to use this litre up fast as she had another 2 litre bottles of fresh one waiting for her at the nearby farm. We had the option to do the usual delicious rice pudding (riz au lait) or Caramel Custard (oeufs au lait) or Microwave Semolina Milk Pudding. In the end, we decided to try a new dessert called Far Forn or Far Aux Pruneaux - a very popular and traditional dessert from Brittany, France.

Far means Flour in Breton. Far Breton or Breton Far, a recipe originated from Brittany, is widely appreciated by the young and old in France. It exists in different varieties according to the particular localities and families, however the most famous of them all is Far Aux Pruneaux or Prunes Far. It is a flan based on eggs and milk, like a dense pudding similar to a Clafoutis. The original "Farz Fourn" (oven baked far, in Breton) recipe dates back to the 18th century, was a savoury flan made with buckwheat flour or wheat flour cooked in the oven, served with traditional French meat dishes. Over the years, the traditional Far evolves into a sweet flan and remains one of the best loved family dessert in France.

I'm pleased to contribute this recipe to this month's Sugar High Friday's theme "The Test of Time - Desserts over a century old" host by In My Box.:-)

Far Aux Pruneaux (Far Breton)
Ingredients
  • 130 g fresh or dried prunes (pruneaux) or dried raisins
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 170 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 750 ml milk
  • salted butter
  • vanilla essence
  • salt
Far aux pruneauxFar aux Pruneaux
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4).
  2. In a big bowl, mix flour, sugar and a pinch of salt together.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or a whisk, stir in the eggs and vanilla delicately with the flour mixture until you get a smooth batter.
  4. Stir in the milk little bit by little bit at first to avoid any lump forming. Once it is quite liquid, stir in the rest of the milk.
  5. Well butter a baking mold or gratin dish, spread the prunes or raisins on it, then pour in the batter.
  6. Bake it for about 45 minutes to 1 h 10 minutes (depending on the size of your baking tray) or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Serve it lukewarm or cold.
The Verdict

Delicious ... this recipe is just the way it's supposed to be: solid and compact like the ones you buy at the bakery, with the right balance of vanilla and dried prunes. It's pretty filling, the way this classic is meant to be. I like my Far cold.:-)

Notes

If you find yourself out of vanilla essence, it's ok. The flan still tastes about as good and as fragrant without it.

If you aren't a fan of dried prunes nor raisins, you can try adding some other dried or fresh fruits... or just make a plain Far - still taste as delicious simple and plain.:-)

Far aux Pruneaux
18 comments.
#1, by LCOM (03/22/2009)

Yum, looks divine. This is a dessert that I have yet to try.

#2, by KJ (03/22/2009)

Oh my, I've just made on of these as well. Great minds and all that. I haven't posted mine yet. It was so delicious. Yours looks great.

#3, by Sophie (03/22/2009)

MMMMMMM.....I love it!!! It looks wonderfull!!!! Well done!!

#4, by Scrumptious (03/22/2009)

Oh YUM. This is one of my favorite desserts in the world, but I never knew its origins or history (nor had a tested and true recipe to try and make it myself at home)! The savoury version with buckwheat flour is also incredibly intriguing, I shall have to track down a recipe for that as well.

Thank you so much for a terrific Sugar High Friday entry! The history, step-by-step photography, and the recipe itself are all fantastic! Check back to my blog on March 27th to see the whole round-up.

#5, by HN (03/23/2009)

Wow, this looks marvellous! Exactly what my man would love to eat:-D Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipe again Cooking Ninja!!!

#6, by ChefBliss (03/25/2009)

Thanks for commenting on my blog! This looks really wonderful -- I love flan and anything flan related -- I would love to get a forkful of this!!

#7 (03/25/2009)

That looks awesome, you know so much about French Cuisine.

#8, by heidi leon (04/02/2009)

oh,I like this dessert, is the first time I hear of it but I will try it. Easy, filling and not too "unhealthy"!!

thanks for sharing

#9, by French Cooking for Dummies (04/12/2009)

Wow, your Far Breton looks amazing! It reminds me of my grandmother's;-)

#10, by Jamie (04/15/2009)

Just gorgeous! I have so wanted to make a Far for so long, so would you mind if I borrowed your recipe? It looks easy and great!

#11, by The Cooking Ninja (04/15/2009)

@LCOM: oh, you got to try it. It's delicious.

@KJ: Thanks. Will check out yours once you post yours.:-)

@Sophie: Thanks:-)

@Scrumptious: I didn't either until I check it out.:-)

@HN: This is will sure make him happy:-) and remind him of France.

@ChefBliss: Me too. I love flan.:-)

@Heidi Leon: Hope you will like it.:-)

@French Cooking for Dummies: Thanks.

@Jamie: Sure. Go ahead.:-)

#12, by Tori (07/15/2009)

It can also be made with a pastry base like a British egg custard. I live in Brittany and was given my first one by a French neighbour. This one did have the crust and so do the ones sold in bakers. Trouble is they don't always destone the prunes.

#13, by Radiogourmet (01/25/2010)

I just found this recipe while searching online for a bit of info on Far Breton, since I just made one myself. However, I'm *really* surprised that you do not heat the milk... that makes for a much more rounded Far, and is - as far as I know - the 'real' way of making this dish.

#14, by Jane (03/24/2010)

I've been looking for this recipe since moving to France 3 years ago. At last I can make it myself. Thank you so much ....

#15, by Dailypainter (07/11/2010)

This comment is for "Radiogourmet" How do you know that heating the milk makes for a much more rounded Far??? Did you make one to compare if using cold milk was such a faux pas.
Why do you feel it was so necessary for you to correct the recipe and try and come out like you know better...you are really annoying!!!!

#16, by Jufo (01/15/2012)

My son and I were wandering around out the front of Notre Dam, on our 'big' trip to Paris. They were holding a fair out the front and giving out samples of local produce from all over france. Once we tasted the Far Breton, we were sold! We managed to elbow our way into a small stand where the lovely ladies were selling FB's as fast as they could cook them. I bought one, and it remains one of our best memories of the trip, oh, the smell of that warm cake while we sat on the bus on our way home. It has been my mission ever since, to perfect the recipe. I will try this one and report back! Thankyou!!

#17, by Granny Maggy (05/18/2012)

Lovely to get the recipe - I'm 66 and still expanding the repertoire. Next will try Kuoing Aman, another Breton delight. That will certainly expand our waistlines, though!

#18, by Katie (08/04/2012)

Hello! I have just attempted your recipe as it sounded so good but I am afraid that it really hasn't worked for me! Is the quantity of milk correct? I have just looked up some other Far recipes and found the proportion of milk to be a lot less!

Best wishes, and thanks for posting this anyway.

Katie