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Franks’ Amazing Prunes and Mascarpone Dessert

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SKILL LEVEL :
Easy and quick

Frank's amazing prunes and mascarpone | Something New For Dinner

Who Knew Prunes and Mascarpone Could Be So Delicious?

I know I have already lost a few of my readers, as prunes in any form may not be high on your deliciousness Richter scale. Please humor me for a moment and then race into your kitchen and make this delicious prunes and mascarpone concoction.

How I Discovered Prunes and Mascarpone

My good friend, and almost-daughter Deena, lives in Brooklyn. Whenever I visit she lines up an incredible array of restaurants and New York experiences for me. On my last visit she put Frankies 457 on the restaurant list, explaining they make the most delicious Sausage & Brown Butter Cavatelli. In all honesty I had no idea what cavatelli was, but I knew Deena, whose Italian grandfather taught her to cook, would not steer me wrong.
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We of course had an over-the-top dinner and the cavatelli, which is a type of hand-rolled pasta that uses a good amount of ricotta cheese in the pasta dough, was unspeakably good. The recipes for both are coming soon to SNFD.

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When it was time to order dessert, which none of us needed, I perused the menu and zeroed in on the Red Wine Prunes and Mascarpone. I said nothing, however, and watched as the table ordered an assortment of desserts that did not include the prunes. Our waiter was aghast exclaiming "Of course you will be ordering the prunes; they are the best thing on the menu."
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Interestingly, even after the waiter's solid recommendation, the consensus at the table was to pass on the prunes. We passed and the waiter, to his extreme credit, brought them to us anyway.

What is to Love About Wine-Stewed Prunes and Mascarpone?

The prunes are stewed for about an hour in a generous amount of red wine, a little sugar and a couple cinnamon sticks, until the liquid is mostly gone and what remains is a prune-studded, delicious sticky sauce. I buy the best mascarpone I can get my hands on and then whip it up with a wire whisk. And that is it! You spoon the mascarpone on a platter, and top it with the prunes scraping out every bit of the delicious sauce over the mascarpone.

Franks amazing prunes and mascarpone | Something New For Dinner

The result is a slightly savory, not-too-sweet, but sweet-enough concoction that is mellowed by the whipped mascarpone. It is one of those desserts where you take the first bite, not expecting a lot, and then have to restrain yourself from immediately shoveling down the rest of the plate.

My husband declared this the best dessert published on SNFD in the last 10 years. 

 

Just Because These Prunes and Mascarpone Are Delicious Doesn't Mean Everyone Will Try Them

People, at least American people, are weird about prunes. I think prunes are somehow hard wired into our brains as a cure for constipation, making it challenging for us to open our minds to a prune-based dessert. I saw this when my table of friends declined them at Frankies' restaurant and I have repeatedly seen it when I serve prunes and mascarpone at a dinner party. Some people will refuse to try them, no matter how many people at the table are groaning in pleasure. I encourage you to walk on the wild side, set aside preconceived prune biases and make these prunes tonight!

And Talk About Easy

These prunes and mascarpone and my Strawberries, Brown Sugar and Cream Cheese recipe are the two easiest dessert recipes on the SNFD site. I encourage you to try both. The prunes and mascarpone can be made in advance and a jar kept in the fridge for emergency desserts or for adding a few to your yogurt in the morning when you need a little extra love to start your day.
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The prunes take about an hour to stew down to a delicious glossy sauce and I like to let the mascarpone come to room temperature before frothing it up a bit with a whisk. You can plate individual portions or make one big platter for the table. For a little color and visual appeal I like to add a few sprigs of mint, because while delicious, prunes and mascarpone are not a particularly pretty dessert.

Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual

SNFD is an Amazon Affiliate and we may earn a small commission when you purchase through our links.
I have a vast collection of cookbooks, and really do not purchase many anymore, but I was compelled to order Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. Not only are these prunes mascarpone and the brown butter cavatelli included in the recipes, but the book has rave reviews and promises to be a short ingredient, simple approach to Italian cooking. "Spuntino" translates to "snacks" and who doesn't need a great snack cookbook? I will update you later after I have had a chance to digest it (pun intended). It looks like a great cover-to-cover read to me.
Franks amazing prunes and mascarpone | Something New For Dinner
Photo credit: Amazon
Note: "Frankies" is not a typo. The restaurant is owned by two guys with great culinary backgrounds who both happen to be named Frankie. So "Frankies" references two Franks and is not meant to be possessive. The two Franks have two restaurants: Franks Wine Bar and Frankies 457. Both serve prunes and mascarpone.

Franks' Amazing Prunes and Mascarpone

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 - 10 Servings

Frank's prunes and mascarpone is an enormous sleeper when it comes to desserts. Cast aside your preconceptions about prunes and give this sublime and incredibly easy dessert a try. Thank you to the two Brooklyn chefs named Frankie for creating this dish, serving it at their restaurants and sharing the recipe with the world. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pitted dried prunes
  • 3/4 - 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 8-ounce tubs of mascarpone cheese
  • Mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put the prunes, wine, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced and turned into a shiny, sticky sauce. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Can be served immediately or stored in the fridge in a container for several weeks.
  2. Whisk the mascarpone with a wire whisk to fluff up a bit and then spread over either individual plates or on a family-style dessert platter. Place 6 prunes on top of individual portions or the entire batch of prunes over the family-style platter. Use a spatula to scrape all the sauce out of the pan and drizzle it over the prunes and mascarpone.
  3. Garnish with some mint springs if you like. 

Notes

I reduce the sugar from the original recipe because I like to emphasize the savory aspect to this dessert and think the prunes are sweet enough themselves. I also find I cook the prunes about 15 minutes longer than the original recipe to achieve the sticky syrup viscosity I like. Total time will depend on your pot, heat source and personal preference. 

Courses Dessert

Cuisine Italian

4 COMMENTS

Comments

  1. Glenda says:

    I’m assuming you include the wine in the pot also in step 1.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thanks for catching the omission Glenda. The recipe instructions have been corrected. Much appreciated.

  2. K says:

    Prunes are really an underrated component. When I was a kid, my mom sometimes made “prune whip,” which was, as far as I can recall, just a prune mash folded through whipped cream. I loved it, though, and this recipe sounds like a delicious relative.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi K — I agree 100%; prunes can make food absolutely delicious. Chicken Marbella is a good example. I also throw them in an Ottolenghi chicken, fennel and tangerine dish that I make with a few modifications, including prunes and a head of garlic. Your mom’s prune whip is interesting. Now you’ve got me thinking. I think a prune olive oil cake might be outstanding!

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