Fattened with liquor, this is the best way to eat prunes.

Sophie Grigson is the inspiration for these prunes. I watched her years ago on TV, plumping up prunes in cognac for her pork medallions in cream sauce. That is a good recipe and I use it often enough. I had fattened up an entire bag of prunes as I didn’t want a half bag of prunes in my larder. I knew alcohol soaked prunes will disappear faster than shrivelled dried ones. I was right. Half a bag of alcoholic prunes went into the Sophie’s dish of pork medallions and the other half was polished off with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

It was obvious that dessert was more about the prunes than the ice cream. No one asked for second scoops of ice cream. Instead, hands were helping themselves to more prunes and the soaking juices. I know I saw someone lick the cognac soaking liquid clean off the serving bowl. Surprisingly, not all liquor will work. I did a test and here’s how the alcohol I tested fared. 

My 2 absolute favourite soaking alcohol?
 is always good but the tastiest alcohol soaked prunes are to be had if you have access to…
Japanese yuzu liqueur*
-yuzu is a unique lemon that grows in East Asia and the fruit is difficult to purchase outside of the region. It has its own distinct heady scent and taste. The fruit has little juice which doesn’t matter as the flavour is all in its zest. Simply put, it does magic to dried prunes.

Really good too:
Dry red wine
lovely roundedness
Tia Maria (coffee liqueur) – mix of coffee and prune is a very good pairing especially with vanilla ice cream

Not bad but nothing exciting so don’t run to the shops to buy:
Ginger wine
Apry (apricot liqueur)

Stay away from these:
Limoncello (lemon liqueur)
Ameretto (almond liqueur)
Sweet Sherry

* The brand I use? Choya. The one I buy is ‘Sarari Yuzu’ and it comes in not a not so glamorous carton packaging. Read more in my ‘Tips’ section below.

Prunes Nicely Plumped Up With Alcohol

Prep: 5 minutes 
Inactive: At least 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Level: Very easy
Serves: ~3 – 5
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Keeps for months in the refrigerator


9oz (255g) bag of pitted prunes
Enough alcohol of your choice to cover ~2″ (5cm) above the prunes *
Refer to my introduction for suggested liquor to use and avoid.


1. Cover prunes in liquor of choice. Put lid on vessel and refrigerate for 6 hours in refrigerator to completely plump up.
2. Serve with vanilla ice cream and sprinkle some nuts if you wish. Also great on its own or with some cream, mascarpone, …
3. Always use a clean spoon to remove prunes and the remaining ones will keep for months in the refrigerator.


(1) What’s yuzu liqueur?
It is yuzu (lemon) and some lime added for a “clean finish” that’s what Choya, the company says anyway. They positioned it as a fruit liqueur. Click on the link for a more detailed description. This is a very tasty drink on its own and with an alcohol content of 7%, it is tempting to sip away the entire carton and forget to use it on the prunes. But do use it. It freshens up the saccharine sweetness of prunes, giving it a refreshing lift that no other liquor can quite accomplish.


(2) They make great gifts
These dried prunes have just had Yuzu liqueur poured over them. They are off to meet a girlfriend of mine. I think she will be quite pleased.


Crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, gluten & egg free, grated potato pancakes.