You’ve no doubt tried one of several close relations of a far, a kind of rustic confection from Brittany that falls somewhere on the continuum of cake, pancake, and custard, sweet and savory.
Yorkshire pudding, Dutch baby, clafoutis, popover, crêpe, far Breton – all are simple batters of egg, milk, flour, and butter cooked variously gossamer thin on a stovetop, or in the case of a popover to showcase an ephemeral puff in a ripping hot pan, or as clafoutis at a modest depth to accent its cake and sweet fruit.
The batter, which rises and falls in the oven, is cooked taller and taller still in the case of far Breton, allowing the batter to cook to a light thick custard when warm, lush and craggy brown, cooling to a dense rich paste.
You can either fight those boundaries and endlessly fret whether your result is under or overcooked — too cake-like or too much a custard — or you embrace the opportunities to improvise and worry less about the exact result.
Serve for breakfast, with tea, as an after-dinner dessert. Or reduce the sugar and swap out for Yorkshire pudding and a Sunday roast.
However you make it, it’s quick and easy to make, and inevitably delicious.
6 ounces pitted prunes
2 tablespoons brandy
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
5 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled
- Steam prunes gently in a strainer over boiling water until soft. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with brandy, cover, and allow to cool.
- With a whisk or immersion blender, beat eggs, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat in flour, followed by the milk and finally the cooled butter.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or (preferably) overnight.
- Preheat an oven to 425F.
- Butter the inside of an 8- by 2-inch round cake pan. Fit the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, butter the paper, and then dust the bottom and sides of the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Drain prunes, if necessary.
- Remove the batter from the refrigerator and stir, or quickly blitz with an immersion blender, to recombine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and scatter over the fruit. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the oven down to 350◦F and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the far on a rack in its pan until it is slightly warm or at room temperature.
Run a blunt knife around the sides of the far to loosen and invert onto a parchment-lined plate. Remove the pan and the parchment paper, and then invert onto a serving plate.