“You can take a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think”. The lusciously sticky prunes of Agen have only to touch your lips to end any token resistance to their sluttishness. It’s not difficult to detect whorish behaviour in a prune and it’s clear that thinking is not their strong suite; but they can certainly drink and they can certainly give pleasure. Armagnac is very much their tipple, although I don’t think that they would be averse to any good eau de vie and once they have drunk their fill, les pruneaux d’Agen will reveal their soft seductive sweetness as readily as any of les grandes horizontales.
I can’t understand why I’ve never made a dessert with pruneaux d’Agen before. It may be that I have indeed planned to do so but have ended up by eating them all while scanning the pages of cookery books, waiting for a recipe to catch my eye. It may equally be because I very rarely have Armagnac, or indeed any eaux de vie, in the house for the very good reason that if I did have them in the house they would only be there for a very short time. There is a strange anomaly in France in that Cognac and Armagnac are in short supply in the drinks department of supermarkets the shelves of which, rather surprisingly, are liberally stocked with whiskies and rums rather than their own world renowned product. But this is the Vendée and I’m sure that the scene is more favourable to these alcoholic prunes down in their home in the South West. One has the option of buying bags of pruneaux d’Agen either with or without their stones. I chose to buy the ones with the stones still in which, I felt, gave them a better chance of surviving the journey home, uneaten. The recipe I chose is a classic bistro recipe which is eminently easy to make but it it does need a ceramic quiche dish or a truly leak proof tin. There is also the fact that if the pruneaux are left to drink the Armagnac over a couple of days whilst they talk amongst themselves, it and they will be all the better for it.