Turnip and Prune Gratin

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Like most chefs, I am always experimenting with combinations of flavours. Here I put together the earthiness of turnips, the sweetness of prunes and the richness of Armagnac to produce a gratin that makes the most perfect partner for game.

Ingredients

  • 10 plump prunes
  • Good slug of Armagnac
  • 450 ml full-fat milk
  • 450 ml double cream
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Sprig of tarragon
  • 1 kg turnips
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method

Well ahead, put the prunes to soak in the Armagnac.

Mix the milk, cream, thyme and tarragon in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Immediately take of the heat and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

Peel the turnips, slice them thinly and blanch the slices in salted boiling water until almost (80 per cent) cooked. Drain and leave to dry on a towel. (Do not refresh in cold water as they need to be as dry as possible.)

Strain the cream mixture and add the prunes, torn into pieces, and the eggs, then whisk together. The cream will take on a faint brown tinge. Add the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked sliced turnips and combine well.

Place in a suitable ovenproof dish and bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven until just set, about 30–40 minutes. You can, if you like, finish it off under a hot for 5 minutes to glaze the top nicely.