This delicious set custard patisserie, most commonly studded with prunes, comes from the region of Brittany in North West France. Versions of Le Far can be found throughout France however, often without any fruit, called simply ‘Flan’. Le Far is one of our holiday favourites!
I translated this particular version from a local recipe postcard bought on holiday. The original instructions were for double the quantity stated below. Some recipes soak the prunes in Armanac brandy, but mine did not and I think it is fine without. Although prunes are used in the traditional version, I have also successfully used dried apricots or Lexia (Valencia) raisins. I have also read of an alternative using chopped apple, but I have not tried this – could be good as apple and raisin mix, possibly.
Le Far Breton aux Pruneaux
Breton Far with Prunes
125g plain flour
100g granulated sugar
1tbsp sunflower oil
100-150g pitted prunes
1. Unless they are very fresh and soft, pour boiling water over the prunes or apricots, soak to soften and drain very well. Leave to dry on kitchen paper. (Raisins do not need pre-soaking.)
2. Preheat oven to 180oC
3. Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl. Add sugar. Gradually mix in beaten egg, oil and milk. Make sure there are no lumps. You will have a very thin batter.
4. Pour mixture into a lightly greased shallow dish. I used a large round fluted flan dish, or two smaller ones. (To make it easier to get the Far into the oven without spilling I find it easier to reserve some mixture to pour over at the end.) More recently I have made this in a deeper dish giving thicker slices. I have also made it in an oblong dish, cutting it into small taster squares for an International Food event at church.
5. Cut the prunes or apricots in half and evenly distribute the pieces into the mixture. Place the dish in the oven and pour in the remaining mixture, if necessary. It does not matter if the dish is fairly full as it does not usually overflow, but I always stand the dish on a baking sheet whilst in the oven.
6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1hr 15mins. The mixture will set with dark patches on the surface and the edges rise slightly.
7. Cut into wedges. Far is usually eaten cold, though it can be served hot. It can be served as dessert or as a cake.