Cook with sweet mirabelle plums
Try our recipes for mirabelles – one of France’s favourite plums - in a year when they are said to be especially good
THIS year’s crop of mirabelle plums is said to be especially sweet making this a good year to try cooking with them.
However you should not delay - the season lasts only six weeks and there are only a few weeks left.
The Assocation mirabelles de Lorraine, which oversees production and marketing of the fruit said this year is average in quantity but that the plums have an especially high sugar level.
80% of all mirabelle production takes place in Lorraine, where the plums thrive on the alternating temperature and the clay soil. A quarter of each year’s harvest in Lorraine is sold in France, another 25% gets exported and the rest is frozen or made into jams, syrups and other products.
They are France’s favourite plum, after the Reine-Claude, and before the little damson (called quetsche in French).
Since 1996, the mirabelle de Lorraine has been labeled IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) which identifies it as a high-quality product from a named part of France. Any IGP plums are at least 22mm across and have a minimum sugar content.
To help you make the most of the rest of the season, Connexion shares some mirabelle recipes – including a tart with olive oil ice cream - for you to try at home. Please share yours at news[at]connexionfrance.com
Tarte aux mirabelles de Lorraine et glace à l’huile d’olive
Preparation time: (ice cream already made): 35 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the pastry:
• 200g of plain flour
• 100g of butter
• 70g of sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 pinch of salt
For the topping
• 500g of Lorraine mirabelle plums
• 80g of caster sugar
• 4 petit-beurre biscuits, crumbled
1) Mix the flour, butter, sugar, salt and egg together.
2) Leave the bowl of pastry to cool for 30 minutes. Wash and dry the mirabelles, then remove the stones and sprinkle them with sugar.
3) Roll out the pastry and divide it into 4 small buttered and floured tart cases.
4) Sprinkle the insides with the crumbled biscuits and place the mirabelles evenly inside.
5) Put into a pre-heated oven and cook for 25 minutes at 180oC.
For the olive oil ice cream
• 1 litre of milk
• 10 egg yolks
• 250g of sugar
• 250g of single cream
• 4 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1) Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together.
2) Heat the milk and add it to the mixture and put it into a saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes a custard.
3) Let the mixture cool. Whip the cream and add it in.
4) Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
5) Put it into the ice cream maker.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can follow this alternative method, although the results may not be as successful.
1) Half-fill a big bowl with ice cubes.
2) Add ¾ cup of coarse salt.
3) Put the prepared mixture in a smaller bowl. Do not fill it up too much – only a maximum of halfway. Then place it into the bigger bowl of ice cubes.
4) Beat the mixture with an electric whisk for about 10 minutes. The mixture will be very cold, but will probably not change consistency.
5) Put everything (the bowl of ice cubes and the bowl of mixture) in the freezer for 45 minutes.
6) Take it out of the freezer and beat the mixture for 5 minutes. At this stage, it will have thickened, but will not be as firm as normal ice cream.
7) Take the smaller bowl out of the bowl of ice cubes. Dry it, cover it with cling film and put it back in the freezer for another few hours before eating.
Finally, serve the tartlets with the olive oil ice cream and some extra mirabelles.
©mirabelles de Lorraine/Recette Reine Sammut/Photo Christian Adam/Stylisme Sylvie Banceville
Mirabelle plums are not just for dessert! They can also be used in savoury dishes…
Tagine de poulet aux mirabelles de Lorraine
• 4 free-range chicken drumsticks
• 4 free-range chicken thighs
• 800g Lorraine mirabelle plums
• 1 onion
• A handful of blanched almonds
• 1 tbsp of honey
• 2 star anises
• 1 tsp of cumin powder
• 2 pinches of cinnamon powder
• 2 pinches of Ras el Hanout (North African spice mixture)
1) In a casserole dish, turn the pieces of chicken in a small amount of olive oil until they are golden, then leave them to one side.
2) Put the finely-chopped onions in the same casserole dish. Add the spices, salt, pepper and mix gently.
3) Add the honey and the mirabelles.
4) Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
5) Add the pieces of chicken, then mix and leave to cook for another 15 minutes.
6) Serve hot with couscous.
Good to know:
In winter, you can make this recipe using frozen mirabelle pieces. Packets of frozen mirabelles are sold at Picard, Cora and in certain large supermarkets under the brand Végafruits.
©mirabelles de Lorraine/Photo Julie Mechali/Stylisme Isabelle Guerre