KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Mirabelle de Metz
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Parkhouse Eatery
Blog Day 2005
Marin Sun Farms
The Picasso of Pastry
Bread & Cie Some More
Take 5 with Linda Carucci
Boeuf in Bourgogne
BBQ Chicken and Coldplay
Muscat love
Take Me Down to Chino Farms
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Mirabelle de Metz

I was first introduced to this precocious plum known as the Mirabelle while dining at the unparalleled White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine. I was celebrating a friend's birthday and we had a choice of four intermezzos (palate cleansers). I left the decision in the gifted hands of Chef Jonathan Cartwright with whom I'd cooked with at the James Beard House in New York. His selection, given my starter and main course, was a Mirabelle sorbet. Thus began my quest to learn about this persnickety prune (prune is plum in French).

The Mirabelle is a small golden yellow plum with red speckles which grows mostly in the Lorraine region of north-east France on the border of Germany. The season is very short--just a quick two to three weeks in late August and is not to be missed! Known for being sweet and flavorful, the Mirabelle transforms not only the plain pie but makes delicious jams and preserves, wine and eau de vie.

Eau de vie (water of life) is a potent brandy distilled from fermented fruit juices and Mirabelle is one of the most popular along with Kirsch (cherry) and Framboise (raspberry). It has even found it's way into the champagne bottle. According to Veuve Cliquot, their '96 Gold Label Vintage Reserve, their self-acclaimed "biggest" champagne, boasts first impressions of citrus, peach, apricot, and Mirabelle plum.

The Mirabelle plum is believed to have traveled from the Southwest Asia in the 15th century to France, Metz specifically, where it was first recorded in 1675. Rumor has it that Alexander the Great himself delivered this little jewel. Given that, it's not such a stretch that the Mirabelle and plums in general remain an important part of Azerbaijani cuisine and their notorious slivovitz, the oh-so-potent Hungarian/Central European brandy akin to the Mirabelle eau de vie. Who knew...?

So what is a plum without a festival? Fortunately we won't know as Metz, home to the humble Mirabelle, hosts the annual Mirabelle Festival celebrating it's favorite fruit every August complete with parades, religious celebrations, concerts, fireworks, traditional dance....and let us not forget the ubiquitous festival queen, deliciously crowned Reine de la Mirabelle (Queen of the Mirabelle--in the middle, below).

This passionate plum has moved mere mortels to exclaim in poetry:

The word plum is delicious
pout and push, luxury of
self-love, and savoring murmur
full in the mouth and falling
like fruit
taut skin
pierced, bitten, provoked into
juice, and tart flesh
and reply, lip and tongue
of pleasure.

- American poet, Helen Chasin

So you are thinking, do i have to fly 6,000 miles to France to partake in these succulent delights? Bien sur non! Of course not, but you didn't hear it from me. Andy Mariani's farm stand in Morgan Hill grows a small supply of these delicate fruits. Dave Karp of the L.A. Times writes: "He always warns, "Don't tell people that I have a commercial orchard of these things." His output is just too small."

Now that you can find them locally, here is a simple Mirabelle Tart recipe. We made this on the barge a few weeks ago in Burgundy but were so busy inhaling the tart that we forgot to take pictures. Just picture a peach tart, but with little yellow plums... et voila!

Mirabelle Plum Pie

pastry dough, enough for one tart/pie shell
1 pound (500 g) fresh mirabelle plums
1 oz (25 g) flour
2 oz (50 g) heavy cream
2 oz (50 g) sugar
1 egg

- Preheat the oven at 180°C/ 350°F/ #7.
- Roll out the pastry dough.
- Line a pie tin with the pastry and blind bake until just barely golden.
- Wash the plums, halve them and place them on the pastry cut side up.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg and flour.
- Add the sugar and combine. Add the heavy cream and combine.
- Pour this mix into the tart shell around the fruits and bake for approx 35 minutes.
- NOTE: we had a very shallow tart tin but if you have a deeper pie tin, just double the recipe and fill to just below the top of the plums.
- Serve warm or cold.

Another recipe I found in cyberspace while researching Mirabelles is this jam recipe. I haven't tried it but it sounds good and easy enough for even me...

Mirabelle Plum Jam

- Wash and weigh the fruit and then cook them down in half their weight of water.
- Now add double their weight of sugar and simmer until thick and syrupy.
- Remove the stones by ladling the jam into a colander and picking them out....careful not to burn your fingers!
- Bottle in sterilized jars and store.

Bon courage (good luck) and bon appetit!

Andy's Orchard
1615 Half Road, Morgan Hill
Open during the summer
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-4pm


Blogger cookie jill said...

I challenge other food bloggers to give aid to those who worked in the food industry and made New Orleans so flavorful:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund A fund has been established to benefit employees of the hospitality industry of the Greater New Orleans area who have experienced hardships because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions may be sent to:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund
Greater Houston Community Foundation
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77027
Call 713-333-2200 for additional information


9/02/2005 8:48 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.