Drunken Prunes

Fall 2004

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The oaky taste of Armagnac, a French brandy made in Gascony, has long been paired with prunes. While Armagnac is available in vintage bottlings, nothing so extravagant is needed for this recipe. Use waterproof markers to decorate the outside of glass jars with flowers, abstract designs or a favorite line from a poem.

Drunken Prunes

Makes: About 4 cups (16 servings, 1/4 cup each)

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  • 2 heaping teaspoons Darjeeling or other black tea leaves
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 pounds pitted prunes, (dried plums)
  • 1 cup Armagnac, or cognac
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half


  1. Stir tea and water in a small bowl; let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a medium saucepan; stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Place prunes in a large bowl; stir in hot syrup. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, sterilize two 1-pint canning jars by steaming them upside down, their lids alongside, in a closed steamer for 10 minutes; or place in a large pot and cover by 1 inch of water and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain prunes, reserving liquid separately. Whisk Armagnac (or cognac) into the liquid. Pack each sterilized jar with half the prunes. Nestle half the vanilla bean in each jar. Pour 1/2 cup of the Armagnac mixture into each jar. Seal and turn upside down to blend ingredients. Set right side up and store in the refrigerator for 1 week to plump.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: Refrigerate the prunes in sealed jars for up to 2 months. When giving, include a card with serving suggestions: "Spoon these 'drunken prunes' over vanilla frozen yogurt, mascarpone cheese or plain yogurt."


Per serving: 135 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 3 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 272 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Fiber (12% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 fruit

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Recipe Categories

Total Time
More than 1 hour
8 or more
Preparation/ Technique
Type of Dish
Desserts, fruit
Ease of Preparation
Fall 2004
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