Monday, September 28, 2009

wine-stewed prunes & mascarpone

wine-stewed prunes with mascarpone

Meet my new favorite dessert. Come over and say hello. No, really, take a good look at it, take it all in. Wine stewed prunes, folks. Yes, that’s right, my new favorite dessert is something that doctor might prescribe older folks for, well, lack of better word, regularity.

in watery winewine gets thick and luxurious

I know it seems perfectly unbelievable that something as, um, boring as prunes can go from Cinderella to belle of the ball in forty-five minutes flat. I would’ve never even considered it were it not for a recent meal at Frankie Spuntino, one of my all time favorite haunts, a place considered by some as the most important restaurant in New York City.

wine-stewed prunes with mascarpone

Usually, I am too full to look at dessert, but last time, I wanted to see what the offerings were and let me tell you, I’ve been missing out! These red wine stewed prunes topped with the creamiest of mascarpone around, was about the most stunning dessert I’ve had in a long long time. Its simplicity is what astounds me the most.

wine-stewed prunes with mascarpone

Luisa waxed poetic about them some time ago, and I’ve had the New York Times recipe bookmarked for ages (and yet never made the connection!) and I suppose it’s time for me to throw my hat in because these are incredible! The dessert is both comfort food and haute cuisine. Something about the thickened, reduced wine, infused with nothing more but sugar and two cinnamon sticks with prunes that absorb these flavors, takes you from pedestrian to decadent. And as we are very clearly entering fall season, eating this at the end of your meal is just about the coziest, most lovely thing you can do. Like pulling a nice woolly sweater over your head and just settling into the fuzzy warmth.

wine-stewed prunes with mascarpone

And though I know we’ve been cheated of a proper summer, I am welcoming fall with open arms. When at the end of a long day, I can sink into my couch holding a bowl of these prunes in my hands, I don’t even think of shorter daylight hours or the sweaters I’ll have to eventually unearth. This alone will be enough to carry me through the darkest and coldest of seasons. And I hope it does the same for you.


Wine-Stewed Prunes and Mascarpone
Adapted from Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli via New York Times

Ingredients:
1 pound pitted prunes (about 40)
1¼ cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2½ cups dry red wine
2 8-ounce containers mascarpone

Preparation:

1. Combine prunes, sugar, cinnamon and wine in a pot over medium-high heat. When mixture boils, reduce to simmer and cook 45 minutes, until liquid has turned to syrup.

2. Remove from heat, and rest at least 15 minutes. Spread a mound of mascarpone on each serving plate, top with 6 prunes and drizzle with syrup. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings.

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19 Comments

  • 1
    tami h. said:

    ! ! !
    This is one of the best desserts I have ever had….and I had forgotten about it until just now! I had this two years ago at Frankie’s and was blown away. I’m bookmarking this post so I don’t lose sight of it again. Thanks! :)

    September 28, 2009 3:44 pm
  • 2

    Oh this looks unbelievable! I went through a major phase last year where I was sort of simmering Italian plums in butter and brown sugar and then mixing in creme fraiche, which I suppose is not a million miles away from this. But the addition of red wine is genius!

    September 28, 2009 4:13 pm
  • 3

    I went through a major phase last year where I was sort of simmering Italian plums in butter and brown sugar and then mixing in creme fraiche, which I suppose is not a million miles away from this. But the addition of the red wine is simply genius!

    September 28, 2009 4:14 pm
  • 4
    Whitney said:

    I love that bowl!! Where is it from?
    This sounds simply delicious.

    September 28, 2009 4:23 pm
  • 5
    maggie said:

    That restaurant is dear to my heart. But I’ve never ordered the prunes! Usually too stuffed from homemade cavatelli…mmm.

    September 28, 2009 4:24 pm
  • 6

    Looks great! Your photos are awesome, by the way. I am new to your site, and I love what I see. Will be adding you to my blogroll… :)

    September 28, 2009 4:42 pm
  • 7
    radish said:

    Thank you all!!
    Whitney – i get mine at Chelsea Market’s kitchen supply shop. They’ve about 8 different ones in blue motif and i want them all.
    Maggie – save room, I beg of you – you will thank me :)
    Kamran – Thank you so much! I’ll be sure to check out yours also.

    September 28, 2009 4:49 pm
  • 8
    Sharmila said:

    Hmm…stewed prunes. I must say I’m a bit uneasy about this one. But you’ve never steered me wrong so I won’t be too skeptical. The photos make this look so pretty!

    September 28, 2009 5:15 pm
  • 9

    I am so digging this post! “some” are you trying to make up with me?

    September 28, 2009 10:06 pm
  • 10
    Jennifer said:

    I too have never ordered the prunes. I’m totally addicted to their cheesecake. But now, you’ve inspired me. Looking forward to seeing you this week.

    September 28, 2009 10:13 pm
  • 11
    zenchef said:

    Can you believe i never been to Frankie Spuntino? *hiding my face in shame*
    I think this might be perfect dessert Mlle Sassyradish! Just perfect!

    September 28, 2009 11:28 pm
  • 12
    zenchef said:

    Can you believe i never been to Frankie Spuntino? *hiding my face in shame*
    I think this might be perfect dessert Mlle Sassyradish! Just perfect!

    September 28, 2009 11:29 pm
  • 13
    whimsy2 said:

    That’s beautiful writing, Sassy, and a beautiful recipe. It makes me want to rush out and make some, except that I’m diabetic, darnit.

    September 29, 2009 12:29 am
  • 14
    kim said:

    Oh, I can almost taste this, it sounds fabulous.
    I’ve been having stewed plums for breakfast lately and they’re delicious (and maybe a little less scary than prunes). Half a pound of plums, snuff of cinnamon with the juice of one orange and have it simmer & reduce for 45 minutes. I scoop it over muesli with plain yoghurt in the morning, delicious.

    September 29, 2009 6:05 am
  • 15
    codfish said:

    Oh, thank you! Not only will I enjoy this dessert, but it’s perfect for my clients who always want me to cook them a dessert but don’t want anything “bad” for them. This will certainly fool them. ;)

    September 29, 2009 9:05 am
  • 16
    radish said:

    Zachary – i thought your post merited a mention, it was a well-crafted argument.
    Zenchef – we SO need to go – you will LOVE.
    Whimsy2 – my mom’s diabetic also, so perhaps I should create some diabetes-friendly recipes?
    Kim – love the idea of plums!! Sounds so homey!
    Robin – that’s funny. people should just relax :) butter IS good for you. RIGHT?

    September 29, 2009 9:35 am
  • 17
    emiglia said:

    I try not to advertise this too much, but I actually really like the taste of prunes. How awesome to have a dessert that fancies them up! Thanks for this recipe!

    September 29, 2009 5:40 pm
  • 18
    Christina said:

    I’m new to the city, so I went and checked out Frankie 17. It was incredible! Absolutely delicious, fresh, thoughtful, and affordable. I got the stewed prunes, even though it sounded weird, and loved them. Thanks for sharing the recipe (and the restaurant!).

    October 3, 2009 12:26 pm
  • 19

    Sometimes the simple items are the best. The dish is an interesting preparation, and one I would like to add to my reperotoire. I usually see prunes just boiled in orange juice, with cinnamon sticks. Your recipe shows a mature sense of taste and palette. Nice job!

    October 25, 2009 8:49 am

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