Sheet Pan

Armagnac Prune and Coffee Tortoni with Hazelnut Praline

March  1, 2016
Author Notes

I love Armagnac prunes with vanilla creme anglaise or ice cream, but I love them even more with coffee! This frozen parfait can be dressed up further with the hazelnut praline, or you can just keep it simple without it.
The prune method is from Paula Wolfert. —LE BEC FIN

  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • PRUNES:
  • 1 3/4 cups water, divided
  • 3 BLACK TEA BAGS
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 CUPS Armagnac
  • 1 WASHED LEMON,peeled in strips
  • COFFEE HAZELNUT PRALINE(optional):
  • 1 cup skinned toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup White sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • FROZEN COFFEE TORTONI:
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup well chilled heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons espresso powder(I use Medaglia d'Oro)
  • 6 Tablespoons brandy
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • FINISHING DRIZZLE:
  • optional Armagnac
  • OR
  • optional strong coffee, warm or cooled
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil, add the tea bags and remove from the heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, add the prunes and lemon zest strips .Soak overnight at room temperature.
  2. The next day, drain the prunes, drying well on paper towels. (Use tea for drinking.) In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with one-half cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Pour the cooled syrup over the prunes. Completely cover the prunes with the Armagnac, then stir the mixture. If the prunes rise above the line of the liquid, add more Armagnac. Let the prunes in Armagnac soak a minimum of 2 weeks in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator.When ready to assemble tortoni, chop prunes in 1/3 inch dice.
  3. Coffee Hazelnut Praline: Spray a sheet pan and set aside. Combine espresso powder with 1 teaspoon of the 1 cup water- and moosh to dissolve. Simmer rest of water and sugar until sugar melts. Turn up heat to medium high.and let it bubble until it turns dark brown. Keep tilting and swiveling pan so sugar syrup doesn't get hot spots that burn. When it looks almost burnt, pour immediately onto sprayed sheet pan. Let cool completely, break up and grind in food processor (not too fine.) Set aside.
  4. Coffee Tortoni: Combine espresso powder with 1 teaspoon of the 1 cup water- and moosh to dissolve. In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil to dissolve the sugar, and boil 5 minutes. In a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks with a paddle til they are thick and very pale. On high speed, add the syrup in a thin stream, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, til mixture is cooled. Fold in COLD heavy cream, beaten in stand mixer with whisk -til soft peaks. Fold into yolks with dissolved coffee.Layer the tortoni in parfait or wine glasses, topping with 1/8" thin layer of praline that is sprinkled with prunes. Repeat layering, and finish with prunes. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer 4 hours to 3 days. Unwrap, drizzle with Armagnac prune syrup and or strong coffee, cooled, and serve.

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.