If you are going to indulge, Christmas is a time to do it and with California Prunes in the kitchen, it’s not just Christmas Day that gets the gourmet treatment.
The rich sweet flavour and texture of California Prunes can enrich your dishes, both sweet and savoury. Prunes can be eaten from the packet for a delicious and nutritious snack, of course, and they can be used whole or chopped in recipes.
They can be partially re-hydrated by soaking in a liquor, which can be as simple as water, as flavoursome as tea or as luxurious as brandy, rum or Armagnac. Not only that, California Prunes can be pureed with a little water and then used to replace some sugar or even fat in recipes.
In this recipe collection for Christmas, we have used California Prunes in 3 ways to show how versatile they are, but also to inspire you to try some new recipes for your Christmas dinner this year.
First up is Baked Ham with California Prune Glaze – it’s so moreish your family will be asking for more. But should there be any left over, it is excellent served cold with a salad or bubble and squeak!
Baked Ham with California Prune Glaze
(serves 8-10, prep time: 15 mins, cooking time: 3 hours)
- 100g prune purée
- 2kg gammon joint (smoked or unsmoked)
- 1 onion – cut into quarters
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 carrot – chopped into quarters
- Cold water
- 10g runny honey
Place the gammon joint, onion, carrot and bay in a large pot and cover with cold water.
Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 2 ½ hours. Pre-heat oven to 160ºC.
Remove the gammon joint from the pan and drain. (You can reserve the cooking liquid to be used to make a stock for the freezer!)
Gently remove the string and skin and place the gammon in a roasting dish. Score the fat layer to create the traditional diamond shape being careful not to cut through to the meat.
In a bowl mix the prune purée with the honey and spoon it over the gammon joint so that it completely covers the top and sides. You could use a brush to make sure it seeps into the scored fat.
Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Check after 20 as ovens do vary but remember the ham is cooked through, this is just the glazing process.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes before carving.
This next recipe takes the sweet chewy texture of chopped prunes with the crunch of hazelnuts and almonds to create Florentines, a decadent treat to have with coffee after your Christmas dinner.
Prune, Hazelnut and Chocolate Florentines
(preparation/cooking time: 30 minutes, makes about 25)
- 100g whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 50g flaked almonds
- 125g California prunes, chopped into even pieces
- 25g butter
- 90g caster sugar
- 15g plain flour
- 150ml double cream
- 200g dark chocolate, broken into even pieces
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Add the butter and sugar to a pan and melt over a gentle heat, then stir in the flour so it forms a paste. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream, stirring well until it becomes smooth.
Put the pan back on the heat and now, using a whisk, make sure there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts and the California prunes. Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of the mixture on to a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave plenty of space as they will spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes then remove from the oven and leave them to firm up for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a palette knife and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Add the chocolate to a glass bowl and sit it over a pan of just simmering water. Stir until the chocolate begins to melt then remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Cover the Florentines evenly with a layer of chocolate. Using a fork, make a wavy pattern on each one and leave to set.
Later in the evening you may want to treat your guests to a liqueur. Our Drunken California Prunes have been soaked in a liqueur of your choice and then enrobed in dark chocolate. You could make a batch and give them as a Christmas gift too.
Drunken California Prunes in a dark chocolate
- 20 California Prunes (approx. 200 – 250 g)
- 60ml whiskey, rum or other alcohol
- 100g dark chocolate
- 30g of butter
- Orange and lime zest
- 2 tbsp cane sugar
- 4 tbsp water
Ideally soak the California Prunes in your choice of alcohol and let them stand for 24 hours. You can soak them for as little as one hour but less alcohol will be absorbed. Stir a couple of times while they soak.
Dissolve the cane sugar in the water in a small saucepan bringing to a boil. Add the orange and lime zest and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the strips and place on some baking paper to cool. You can shape the pieces into curls if you wish as these will form the decoration. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl resting over a pan of just simmering water, until you get a smooth texture. Drain the prunes well and dip in the melted chocolate using a cocktail stick. Set aside on baking paper. Decorate with orange and lime zest before the chocolate hardens.
From us all at California Prunes, we hope you have an deliciously indulgent Christmas!