Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flan or Creme Caramel recipe with a Pumpkin Variation

Here is a recipe that is surprisingly simple. It's a good recipe for making dairy-free. Simply substitute all of the milk and cream for coconut milk. I would imagine that a full-fat almond milk would taste lovely in this recipe too, though I haven't tried it yet. This is my own modification of the Joy of Cooking's recipe.

The trickiest part of making this recipe is in preparing the caramel sauce. It has few ingredients but it takes some patience and attention.

Place in a saucepan, preferably one with a light-colored inside:

3/4 cup sugar

Pour over the top:

1/4 cup water

Heat the mixture slowly, swirling the liquid occasionally until it clarifies. Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 minutes, covered. Uncover the pan after the two minutes is up and watch it boil until it begins to darken. At this point start swirling the syrup in the pan again to cook it evenly until it turns a dark brown. If you smell burning immediately remove it from the heat: you have cooked it a little long but burnt sugar has its own appeal. Sometimes I burn it intentionally, but usually I try for the darkest syrup possible without burning - an art in itself. While still very hot, pour the caramel into the bottoms of 6-8 ramekins. It will harden almost immediately.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat in a medium saucepan just until steaming:

2 Cups milk
1 cup cream or coconut cream


1 Cup milk
1 Cup cream
1 cup pumpkin

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together:

5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/8-1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Slowly whisk the heated milk mixture into the egg mixture. Strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl with a pouring lip. Mix in:

3/4 tsp vanilla

Pour the liquid into the custard cups. Bake in a water bath (with the custard cups set in a pan of hot water coming at least halfway up the sides of the cups) for 40-60 minutes, or until jiggly but not watery. Carefully remove the custard cups from the pan without getting water into the custard. Chill for at least 2 hours, but this dessert actually improves the longer you chill it.

To serve, set the custard cup in a dish of hot water. Run a knife along the edge of the custard to loosen it, then invert the custard on a dish. Use a light-colored dish to highlight the caramel-colored sauce that covers the custard.

Don't have ramekins?  Buy them online at Sur La Table (aff.).


Rebecca said...

Both variations sound delicious. I wish you hadn't said they'd taste "lovely," though.

Linda said...

That sounds wonderful. I love anything caramel.

l'actrice said...

It really sounds yummy!