Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coconut Flan

Flan de Coco: Coconut Flan

On a my previous entry I mentioned that I’d be posting a coconut flan recipe. So I searched my favorite Cuban cookbooks (Nitza Villapol’s “Cocina Criolla” and Raquel Roque’s “Cocina Cubana”) and ironically enough I ran across the flan recipe of Father Alberto Cutie’s grandmother. Now, if you don’t live in south Florida, you may not have heard of Father Alberto and the hype around this young priest. It seems that some tabloid has pictures of him sunbathing with some young woman and this has raised eyebrows and the Archdiocese of Miami has temporarily removed him from his priestly duties. Well, I digress, back to the flan recipe. In honor of Father Alberto, I’ll be making his grandmother’s flan with a slight variation. I did want to include coconut, after all.

¾ cup white sugar + 3 tablespoons water for caramel
5 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk
17 oz grated coconut in syrup
1 teaspoonful vainilla extract

There’s a two step process in this flan, as in most flans. You need to melt the sugar in order to caramelize it and give your flan that beautiful golden color. A real easy way of doing the caramel is in the microwave (thanks to Linda Cicero):

Combine the sugar (3/4 cup) and 3 tablespoons water in a 6 cup glass measuring cup.
Cover tightly with plastic and cook on high for 4-5 minutes, until the syrup turns deep amber (the longer it cooks, the darker it’ll be). If sugar is still white after 5 minutes, add 20 seconds at a time till you reach the right golden color. Don’t overcook since you don’t want to burn it!
Uncover carefully and pour the caramel into the flan mold you’ll be using. Swish it around until the pan is all covered with the caramel. Wear gloves and be careful!

Put all the ingredients mentioned above (not including sugar and water) into a blender and process for about 3 minutes.
Gently pour into your flan pan (a 2 liter glass Pyrex is good) that has been covered with the caramel.

Carefully put the uncovered pan in a bain-marie (also known as a water bath/baño de Maria) in your oven for one hour at 350 degrees. After one hour, insert a toothpick in the center and make sure it comes out clean before you remove from the oven.
Refrigerate overnight. Once it’s thoroughly set, carefully place a serving plate on top and gently flip it over. You will have a gorgeous, delicious flan that is pretty easy and inexpensive to make!

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