The prunes and Armagnac for Pascal Aussignac's glorious dessert need to be made a month in advance to optimise the rich flavours. Do not fear if you don't have the time - prunes in Armagnac is a classic combination and can be bought ready-made online or from specialist French delicatessens.
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Start by making a tea for the prunes and Armagnac. Combine 1/2 a litre of water and the green tea bag in a small pan. Bring to a simmer, then allow to cool before adding the prunes. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours
1 bag of green tea
500g of prunes
After this time, strain off the tea and cover the soft prunes with the Armagnac. Marinate in a sealed container for 10 days at room temperature
200ml of Armagnac
After the 10 days, transfer the prunes to a suitably-sized sterilised jar. Boil the water, sugar, orange zest, cloves, cinnamon and star anise in a pan, then pour this liquid over the prunes. Allow to cool completely before sealing the jar and leaving to marinate for at least 1 month
300ml of water
200g of sugar
1 orange, zested
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
For the ice cream, whisk the yolks with the sugar in a large bowl. Bring the cream, milk and glucose to the boil, then pour over the yolks and sugar mixture, whisking continuously. Return to the pan and bring the mix to 81°C, stirring throughly
150g of egg yolk
115g of sugar
200g of double cream
150ml of milk
30g of glucose
Remove from the heat, pass through a fine sieve and leave to cool
Once the custard is cool, stir in the crème fraîche and mustard, season with splash of Armagnac and churn in an ice cream maker as per manufacturers instructions. Store in the freezer until required
75ml of crème fraîche
1 dash of Armagnac
200g of prune and Armagnac mustard
Preheat oven to 100°C/gas mark 1/4
For the meringues, use a hand whisk on a medium speed to beat the egg whites until fluffy and stiff. Add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time and continue whisking, being careful not to over-whisk
2 large egg whites
60g of caster sugar
Gently fold in 1/3 of the icing sugar with a spatula. Add the remaining icing sugar and mix until incorporated
60g of icing sugar
Gently spoon the meringue mix into a piping bag and pipe 5cm long and 2cm thick fingers onto greaseproof paper. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until crispy, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool completely
Serve 4-5 prunes alongside a scoop of the ice cream on each plate. Add a couple of the crunchy meringues and some crushed pistachios before serving
50g of pistachio nuts, crushed for garnish
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