On my recent trip to Paris, it was truly all about the food, and my husband was game for whatever I suggested.
We were at a small hotel in Le Marais during part of our stay in Paris. The first evening there, out of convenience, we strolled half a block down the street for dinner at Le Café Les Philosophes. A restaurant at 28 Rue Vieille du Temple, I have walked past it often on previous visits, but had never stopped to eat. It was a perfect first meal.
I ordered the wine that night, choosing Le Pimencon D'Alain Darroze. Very interesting... a white wine with a hot red pepper floating inside the bottle. At first sip, you taste a slightly sweet wine, followed by heat slowly making its way down your throat. Did I say, interesting?
After my bowl of onion soup (delicious, I might add) I ordered the dessert of the day -- a slice of prune tart. Unfortunately is was sold out and erased from the tableau du jour; popular, it seems.
After dinner, we spent the night walking along the right and left banks of the Seine where we saw... a prune festival! I'm thinking... the French take prunes seriously.
One of several amazing meals we ate in Paris was the next night at SPRING PARIS. It was also one of two restaurants we visited where the chef was an American. Dinner at Spring Paris is a "prix fixe" menu of 4 courses that aren't revealed to the diner until delivered to the table. When we arrived we were asked if we had any allergies. After that, what we were served was a delicious surprise.
My husband is still raving about the veal filet we ate that night.
The first part of our fourth course, the dessert, was a chocolate wafer with mint gelato.
The second was a prune tart
So how could I return home and not make a prune tart? The recipe I used was a Provencal Prune and Almond Tart from Patricia Wells. The dried prunes are plumped in hot black tea before being added to a pastry shell filled with almond cream. It was delicious and I'd have to say, just like the prune tart I ate at Spring Paris.
The other restaurant we both loved and with an American at its helm, was VERJUS. That's for another day and another post...
• 1 partially prebaked and cooled flaky sweet pastry shell (I used an 8-inch ring, but suggest a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom to use all of the almond cream)
• 2 cups strong black tea
• 1 pound prunes, pitted
• 1/4 cup whole unblanched almonds
• 1 large egg, slightly beaten
• 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons plum eau-de-vie or brandy
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
1. At least one hour before preparing the tart, pour the hot tea over the prunes and set aside to marinate.
2. PREHEAT OVEN to 375 degrees.
3. Prepare the cream filling: In the bowl of a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder. Thoroughly blend the almonds with the egg, sugar, brandy and cream. The mixture should be very smooth.
4. Thoroughly drain the prunes, discarding the soaking liquid. Carefully arrange the prunes in the cooled, prebaked tart shell. This will seem like a lot of prunes, and you may have to arrange them in two layers. Pour the cream filling over the prunes and place the tart in the center of the oven.
5. Bake until the cream filling has set and the tart shell is nicely browned, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
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