For chocolate and Armagnac ice-cream, combine chocolate and Armagnac in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water, stir occasionally until smooth (5-7 minutes), set aside. Combine milk, sugar, vanilla and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar (3-5 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks until pale (3-5 minutes). Pour milk mixture over egg yolks, stirring to combine, then return to pan and stir continuously over low heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon thickly (8-10 minutes). Pour mixture over chocolate, stir to combine, place bowl over ice and stand until chilled. Whisk crème fraîche to soft peaks, fold through chocolate mixture and freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 2 litres.
For Armagnac prune compote, combine ingredients in a saucepan, cook over low heat until syrupy (30 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 180C. Bring butter and 250ml water to boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add flour, beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Remove from heat, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a 2cm plain nozzle, pipe fifteen 3½cm-diameter rounds onto baking-paper-lined oven trays. Bake until golden (15 minutes), remove from oven, pierce bases with a knife, return to oven until dry (45 minutes-1 hour). Cool on wire rack.
Meanwhile, for crème somptueuse, stir ingredients in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water until smooth (3-5 minutes).
To serve, halve pastries horizontally, place two prunes in each base, add a small scoop of ice-cream, sandwich with pastry tops. Serve with crème somptueuse drizzled over.
Note Agen prunes, from Agen in France, are
available from select delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute
other pitted prunes.