Last week I was very lucky to cook with the legendary chef Rosemary Shrager in celebration of California Prunes! I am a prune lover, always have been, always will. However they sometimes get a bad image when really they are gorgeous, squidgy, sweet, melt in the mouth gooiness.
One of the recipes I made last week was California Prune and Wheaten Bread which is soooo easy to make I thought I would share it. It tastes amazing too!
I also made a really tasty Chicken Breast with California Prunes, Liver and Rosemary…oh my goodness, lip smacking tasty! I will definitely be making this again…plus I learned how to make my first chicken ballotine! I was very lucky that my cooking companion was a proficient ballotine maker.
This is not a quick recipe but well worth the effort, especially if you are entertaining. One of the many virtue of prunes is that they are extremely versatile…think about it, they can just about go with anything.
What I like about prunes is that they can be used as a natural replacement for some of the sugar in certain dishes such as cakes and desserts. They are also a great source of fibre (need a little help in the toilet? Eat a prune or two and see the difference).
Research by the University of Liverpool has concluded that eating prunes as part of a weight loss programme can improve weight loss. If you fancy something sweet to get rid of a sugar craving try a prune…just don’t eat the bag because after all every prune was once a plum and you wouldn’t eat a bag of plums would you?
Prunes are also a great source of potassium, vitamin B6, copper, vitamin K and manganese all essential for a healthy body.
We finished the meal off with a California Prune and White Chocolate Panna Cotta.
California Prune Facts
Apparently the production process of Californian prunes is one of the most quality-focused in the world using the most sophisticated harvesting and drying techniques in the world. Harvesting takes about three weeks starting around mid-August.
California prunes are allowed to ripen on the tree before being picked.
Harvested prunes are washed in spring water and put into dehydration on the same day.
Recent research shows a potential link between prunes and bone health.
Pureeing prunes can provide a healthy substitute to replace up to 30% of refined sugars in baking recipes.
Three prunes are one portion of our ‘five a day’.
California Prune and Wheaten Bread recipe
- 360g wholemeal, stoneground, medium or coarse flour
- 16 California Prunes chopped roughly, not too small
- 120g Plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp bran
- 1 tbsp wheat or oat germ
- 60g sugar
- 60g butter
- 329ml-448ml buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC
- Lightly grease two loaf tins (480g)
- Place the wholemeal flour in a bowl and sieve in the plain flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda
- Stir in the prunes, bran, germ and sugar and mix thoroughly
- Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the mixture
- Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk, mix quickly and gently to form a loose dough.
- Divide the mixture between the tins and sprinkle with wholemeal flour or bran to give a malty surface
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 220ºC and then lower heat to 200ºC for a further 30-35 minutes.
- The bread should be well risen, brown and firm to touch
California Prunes have teamed up with the Rosemary Shrager Cookery School to encourage people to cook healthy and indulgent recipes using prunes. The winner will win a bread making masterclass for two with Rosemary Shrager, including travel and overnight accommodation plus the chance to have their recipe published in an e-recipe book. Ten runners up will win a £100 supermarket voucher.
For more information head over to here where recipes can be entered.
Disclosure: This recipe belongs to Rosemary Shrager’s and California Prunes but I have permission to reproduce it.