Mmm. Prunes. ‘Give us your best prune recipe or best idea for using prunes’ told David Lebovitz on his blog and do that by October 26th. My first thought is a frustration about the fact that I have not been able to locate plum juice – probably one of my favourite juices of all times - in the shops here in Edinburgh, whereas there is an abundance of ‘healthy’ prune juice. Which is nothing like its fresh cousin.
But after I calm down, I decide to go for it. For various reasons I’ve sadly had to opt out from a number of recent blogging events (the last few SHFs, for instance) – and I’m keen to take part. As David rightly says, ‘prunes are very good for your health; they’re high in iron, with no added sugar but lots of fiber… and yes, they keep you, um, ‘regular’’. And although I had no pruneux de Agen or d’Ente at hand, the own-brand stuff from Tesco has proved rather nice in the past, and I had half a kilogram bag in my cupboard.
As always, I turned first to my Estonian recipe site. You see, if I get to make a nice dish and take a picture of it, I get to blog about it here as well as update my recipe site. A quick search reveals 44 recipes with prunes, most of which are various stews and roasts. I spot two easy and tempting starters though. Firstly, grilled prunes rolled in smoked bacon rashers. Yummy. But instead of shopping for my favourite oak smoked bacon at the farmers market last Saturday morning, I stayed in bed until noon. So no grilled prunes & bacon then.. Secondly, prunes stuffed with liver pate and chopped chives – also nice, but as I’m not sure I want to nibble on prunes and liver pate for the rest of the day, I decide to make a mental note of that recipe for a party later this month.
Instead I go for a cake. A recipe for hapukoorekook kuivatatud ploomidega alias sour cream cake with prunes has been praised by several readers at my Estonian site, and I decide to check it out myself. It’s from the March 22, 1997 issue of Postimees (Postman), one of the main dailies back home. It is not just a healthy prune cake, it’s a super healthy prune cake. In addition to high-fibre prunes, it also contains wheat bran (yep, another super source of fibre) as well as high-fibre rye flour (asking for a barley flour in Edinburgh health food shops resulted in few raised eyebrows, so I opted for rye). Here’s my slightly modified version of the recipe.
‘I am so good for you prune cake’
2 tbsp sugar
200 grams plain yogurt or sour cream or crème fraiche
100 ml wheat bran (I used Jordan’s)
200 ml barley or rye flour (or even wholewheat)
2 tsp baking powder
200 grams chopped juicy prunes
Whisk the egg with sugar, add yogurt, wheat bran, baking powder and flour (mix the last two first). Finally add chopped prunes.
Transfer the batter into a buttered cake tray and bake at 200˚C for about 30-35 minutes.
Serve with a cup of tea.
Verdict: recommended. High in fibre, low in fat and surprisingly tasty indeed. Especially with a cup of tea.