Caramel-Topped Flan

IMG_6431

Caramel-topped flan is another great dessert for the hot summer months.  It’s cool and slinky and refreshing.

 

Caramel-Topped Flan
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: One 8-inch flan OR 6 (6-oz) ramekins OR 7-8 (4-oz) ramekins

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the flan:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a roasting pan or 9-by-13 inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels.
  2. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off heat.
  3. Put a metal 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides – not a nonstick one – in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.  (If you are using individual molds or ramekins, then skip this step.)
  4. Stir the sugar, water, and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  5. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5-10 minutes.  The sugar will bubble.  Remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.
  6. Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.
  7. Bring the milk and heavy cream just to a boil.
  8. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar.
  9. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla.
  10. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid to temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle.
  11. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk.
  12. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.
  13. Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan.
  14. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven.  Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don’t worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.)
  15. Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there.  It will be very jiggly, but a knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.  (If using small, individual molds, start checking for doneness around the 25-minute mark).
  16. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack, and run a thin knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it.
  17. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Covered with plastic wrap in its baking pan, the flan will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  18. When ready to serve, once more, run a thin knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over, and remove the cake pan.  The flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.  Once unmolded, its best to enjoy it the same day, otherwise the top will start to look wrinkly.  (It will still taste the same.)
  19. Bring the flan to the table and cut into wedges. Spoon some of the syrup onto each plate.
Advertisements

Almost-Fudge Gateau

IMG_6343

This French chocolate cake resembles a cross between a lava cake and a brownie.  Because there are five eggs in the batter to provide structure, the cake works well gluten free.  It’s deliciously gooey when warm, so I recommend heating the leftovers in the microwave before eating.

 

Almost-Fudge Gateau
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9″ cake

For cake:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coffee OR water
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

For glaze:

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped OR semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar OR light corn syrup

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess.  Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
  3. Set a heatproof howl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter, and coffee OR water.  Alternatively, you can combine them directly in a small nonstick pot over very low heat, and stir constantly to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  4. Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may be grainy and that’s fine.
  5. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for three minutes.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
  7. Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks.
  8. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest.
  9. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes (it will be closer to the upper limit for the gluten-free cake), or until the cake has risen evenly.  It might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more and the center will puff too.  The top will firm (it will probably be cracked) and won’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate.
  11. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5-10 minutes.
  12. Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan.
  13. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and parchment paper.  Invert the cake onto another rack.  If using gluten-free flour, glaze the cake before it cools all the way, because the cake dries out easily and you want the glaze to hold in moisture.  If using all-purpose flour, you can cool the cake to room temperature.  As the cake cools, it may sink.
  14. Carefully turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any drips.
  15. Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
  16. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven – the chocolate should be just melted and warm, but not hot.
  17. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
  18. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
  19. Stir in the agave nectar OR corn syrup.
  20. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula.  Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake – it will just add to its charm.  If using gluten-free flour, try to seal the entire cake with glaze.
  21. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you’re impatient, slip the cake into the fridge for about 20 minutes.  If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gently heat from a hairdryer.
  22. You can store any leftovers covered in the fridge.  Reheat a slice for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to restore its warm gooeyness.

Raspberry Blanc-Manger

IMG_6374

It’s hot and it’s berry season, so what better dessert than a light, fluffy raspberry blanc-manger?  This is a delicate, almond-flavored, mousse-like cake studded with raspberries, then topped with more raspberries and drenched with raspberry coulis.

 

Raspberry Blanc-Manger
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 6 servings

For the blanc-manger:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds OR super-fine almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz) packet powdered gelatin
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raspberries

For topping:

 

  1. Set aside an 8-inch cake pan that is 2 inches high.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water. Have ready a smaller bowl that fits into the ice-water bath.
  3. Whip cream until it holds soft peaks.  Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Bring milk, almonds, and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to make certain the sugar dissolves.
  5. While milk heats, put gelatin and 3 tablespoons cold water in a microwave-safe bowl or a saucepan.  When the gelatin is soft and spongy — it should take about 2 minutes — heat it in a microwave oven for 15 seconds (or cook it over low heat to dissolve).
  6. Stir the gelatin into the hot milk mixture, and remove the saucepan from heat.
  7. Pour the hot almond milk into the small reserved bowl, and set the bowl into the ice-water bath.
  8. Stir in vanilla, and continue to stir until the mixture is cool but still liquid; you do not want the milk to gel in the bowl.
  9. Very gently fold the cold whipped cream into the almond milk with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raspberries.
  10. Spoon the blanc-manger into cake pan, and refrigerate until set, about 2-3 hours.
  11. To unmold the blanc-manger, dip the cake pan up to its rim in hot water for 5 seconds, then wipe the pan and invert the blanc-manger onto a serving plate.
  12. Serve immediately or chill until needed.  Top with raspberries and serve raspberry coulis on the side.
  13. The blanc-manger can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.