Fred Berkmiller’s Steamed Mussels Marinière

This dish is simplicity at its best, and full of flavour. The taste of Armagnac with dried Agen prunes and vanilla is exquisite. When ready, they can be eaten on their own, but they also will go very well in a game or rabbit casserole. They’re also a delight in a clafoutis. Remember, the longer you keep them the better - and that’s a year minimum!

Makes two 1 litre Le Parfait jars


1kg non-pitted, dried Agen prunes if possible, or dried prunes

750ml warm tea

750ml of good Armagnac, minimum 2 years old

2 vanilla pods, split - 1 per jar

200g caster sugar


Soak the prunes in the warm tea overnight. Then drain and divide the prunes between 2 one litre Le Parfait glass jars. Add a split vanilla pod to each jar, then pour 100g of the caster sugar into each jar. Fill up the jars with Armagnac, making sure the prunes are well covered. Close the lids, using a new seal, and store in a cellar or a dark cupboard. Make sure to resist the temptation of trying them for at least a year!