My friend Camille used eau-de-vie for making aperitifs and for bottling fruit. I remember how much we looked forward to her prunes in rum. The prunes were always the famous Agen prunes, which she bought at Fleurance, and which she preferred even to her own dried plums.–Pierre Koffmann

What kind of alcohol can I use?

First things first. In case you were wondering what the author is referring to above, eau-de-vie is a lovely fruit brandy that’s made via the fermentation and distillation of fruit. Second, in the spirit of full disclosure, traditional pruneaux d’Agen are, in fact, slightly boozier than what this recipe renders. They’re usually steeped in Armagnac, a particular eau-de-vie made from grapes, and the result is damn good. So damn good that in Gascony, you’re not invited over for coffee, you’re invited over for those little lovelies. We think this tea and rum rendition, though, makes a laudable substitute for the kind made with Armagnac, which can be quite a lot more difficult to find at a decent price stateside than you may think.

Two small glasses filled with prunes in rum and a spoon resting inside each glass.

Prunes in Rum

5 / 3 votes
Prunes in rum is a sweet, boozy dessert that’s elegantly simple. Rum and tea infuse the fruit with a deeply satisfying flavor that just gets better with time.
David Leite
CourseCondiments
CuisineFrench
Servings36 servings
Calories108 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 hours

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 1/4 pounds prunes, pitted if desired
  • 4 tea bags, (such as black tea)
  • 9 ounces (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 7 ounces rum

Instructions 

  • Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan large enough to contain the prunes.
  • Add the prunes and the tea bags to the boiling water and cover with a lid. Remove from the heat and let set overnight.
  • The next morning, remove and discard the tea bags. Add the sugar and rum to the prunes and mix gently with a spoon until the sugar dissolves. (This may take a couple minutes, but the sugar will dissolve. Promise.) Divvy the prunes and the liquid among jars. (The prunes should be pretty much completely immersed in the sweet booze.) Cover and refrigerate, preferably for at least a few days. The boozy prunes will keep for up to 3 months. Serve at room temperature. Originally published January 17, 2014.
Memories of Gascony

Adapted From

Memories of Gascony

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 108 kcalCarbohydrates: 25 gProtein: 1 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.03 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02 gSodium: 1 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 18 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Pierre Koffmann. Photo © 2013 Laura Edwards. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The directions for this prunes in rum recipe were clear, simple, accurate, and led to a wonderful jar of rummy plums. The total hands-on time was about 10 minutes; the overnight steeping did all the work. When I went to tend to the plums in the morning, they were fragrant and succulent. I added the rum and sugar, which dissolved pretty quickly after a couple minutes of stirring. I tasted the plums the next day, and they were lovely: mildly sweet, subtly spiced, and not too boozy. I was surprised that the rum flavor was so subtle. I’d almost eat this over my Greek yogurt in the morning, but I’d better not!

So far, I’ve tasted these on their own and over vanilla ice cream, which was heavenly. The only potentially confusing part of the recipe is that it doesn’t specify what type of tea bag should be used, so I went with orange and cinnamon spice, which lent a lovely spiced flavor to the plums. I’d certainly suggest an herbal, spiced type of tea. Rooibos might be nice.

This incredibly easy recipe for prunes in rum delivered fabulous results. All it requires is a bit of patience. I made this at the end of September and then rather forgot about it. When I tried the prunes about 6 weeks later, they were spectacular. Soft, plump, beautifully seasoned, and not overly tasting of alcohol. I’m going to serve them at the holidays. Won’t my guests be lucky?

I love this recipe for prunes in rum. I like dried fruit steeped in alcohol, but sometimes it can be too much when infused with straight alcohol. I used Lipton Yellow Label Tea bags and dark rum. I like the ratio of water to rum, as the dilution, along with the sugar, softens the flavor. The result was still boozy, but not as harsh as some recipes that I’ve made.

I only used prunes this time, but next time I’ll also add dried apricots. I like this by itself, but it’s also great on ice cream or on pound cake. I’m anxious to see how this tastes as time goes by.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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23 Comments

  1. I have a large can of prunes and a bottle of vodka do you think I could just follow this recipe?

    1. Alison, it really won’t work. Your prunes are already hydrated from being in the can, and the vodka won’t lend any flavor, the way rum well.

  2. 5 stars
    I used Double Bergamot Earl Grey from Stash Teas and Goslings Black Seal with great results. Thank you for a wonderful idea.