1 cup pitted prunes
4 black tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
3 wide strips lemon zest
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
2 firm cooking apples (such as Fuji), peeled and cut into wedges
3 Bosc pears, peeled and cut into wedges
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Make the compote: Soak the prunes and tea bags in 1 cup boiling water, 20 minutes. Discard the tea bags.
Transfer the prunes and soaking liquid to a small saucepan. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla seeds and pod, lemon zest and cognac and cook over medium heat until syrupy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the apples and pears and reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
Make the pancake: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to a blender (reserve the rest in the skillet off the heat). Add the eggs, salt and half-and-half to the blender and blend. Add the flour and blend until smooth. Add the orange zest, orange juice and almond extract and blend.
Heat the skillet with the reserved butter over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add the batter, transfer to the oven and bake until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Reheat the compote, if desired; discard the lemon zest and vanilla pod. Dust the pancake with confectioners' sugar; serve with the compote.
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