Prune Filling (Lekvar) for Cookies, Tarts, or Homentashn (Hamentashen)
Plum illustration from Knoop's Pomologia, Nuremburg, 1766, reproduced from Pomona's Harvest by H. Frederic Janson, 1996
For this filling, I specifically bought prunes with the pits in, because I recall reading or hearing that you get more flavor if you cook stone fruits with the stones. I can’t really tell if this is true or not without doing two batches of prunes side by side (perhaps this is a good project for peysekh, the joyous holiday currently hurtling towards us like a barn owl who has just spotted a dormouse). In order to give the correct measurement for pitted prunes, I weighed the pits after I removed them. I would only do this for you.
Prune Filling (Lekvar)
12 ounces (about 2 cups) prunes with pits (or 10 ½ ounces pitted prunes)
1 bay leaf (optional)
grated orange and lemon zest (optional)
part of a vanilla bean (optional)
1 tablespoon slivovitz (optional, but really nice)
½ to 1 cup honey or agave
put the prunes in a saucepan with 3 cups of water and the bay leaf or vanilla bean or citrus zest if you are using them. Bring to the boil and cook for about ten minutes. Cover and leave the fruit to steep several hours or overnight, adding a bit more water if everything is not quite covered.
When the prunes are cool, they will be very soft and you will be able to remove the stones easily. Remember as well to remove the bay leaf or vanilla bean, if you added them earlier. Pit the prunes, and grind the pitted fruit together with the cooking liquid and some honey or agave in a processor or other grinding-modality. Stir in some plum brandy (slivovitz) if you wish.
Find other herb-scented seasonal sweets at Weekend Herb Blogging, this week in the capable hands of Katie at Thyme for Cooking.