A Mother's Day Flan!

A Mother's Day Flan!

Blog written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Although anyone can tell you that I am not into sweets, perhaps because it is a memory of my youth studying in Spain, or my love of the perfection of eggs and milk, I adore a flan. Obviously the flan is another type of custard, but this is the way it is traditionally made in Spain. This is opposed to the crème brulee from France, with the sugar burnt on top of the custard using a small blow torch. That is way too scary for my tastes. In any case, as usual one of my absolute loves is citrus, whether it is lemon, lime, orange or any of those wonderfully delightful bursts of sunshine that is a citrus fruit. Here I combine three of my favorites to add a lot of sunshine into my life and to the delight of my taste buds. It is a lot simpler than seems.

 

Citrus Flan

Serves 12

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: 1 hour on top stove

                 30 minutes in oven

 

Custard

4 whole eggs

4 egg yolks

8 Tbsp. sugar

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

1 Tbsp. lemon curd

1 Tbsp. marmalade

zest of 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 1 lime

 

Caramel

10 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. water

 The important thing to remember is that flan is cooked always in a double-boiler. I use one baking pan inside a larger one (10” x 3” for the flan, to be set inside a 12” x 3” tin). So the first step is to boil water that you will need during the entire process.

To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a nonstick sauce pan and allow to boil, stirring occasionally until it reaches reaches a golden color. I like a more blond color for if you do it too long the flavor becomes more like coffee. Some people like my brother-in-law don’t like that. In any case, the dominant flavors here should be citrus. As soon as it is ready, about 8 minutes pour the caramel into the smaller tin and swirl covering the entire bottom. It will harden. However, like magic the caramel becomes liquid when the flan cooks, so be careful when turning over into a serving plate. Set the pan aside and prepare the custard.

In the meantime, mix the first seven ingredients for the custard together in a mixer. Add with a rubber spatula the zest for an extra punch of citrus flavors and aromas. Do save the fruit to make a syrup later, which always comes in handy. Pour the custard mixture over the caramel. Place the pan in the larger pan and pour the hot water into the larger pan until it reaches the middle of the pan. Place on a medium flame and allow to cook for one hour. About 15 minutes before need, preheat the oven to 350°F. Do remember to double-check the amount of water in the exterior pan throughout the cooking time on top of the stove. Never allow the water to dry out. Try to maintain the water mid-way up the pan. If needed, add more water before placing the pan in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is a beautiful golden brown. By this time the perfume that pervades your kitchen is sinful.

Remove from the oven as well as taking out the smaller pan from the larger one. Be careful as the water is very hot. Allow the flan to cool to room temperature before placing uncovered in the refrigerator.

Remove the flan approximately 20 minutes before serving. Using a metal spatula carefully move around the edge of the flan to loosen. Shake round a bit to make sure that it is loose. Place a large enough plate over the pan, with at least a slightly rounded edge because of the caramel, which is now liquefied. Carefully invert. The flan should fall easily into the plate. Sprinkle the orange zest over the top of the flan if desired, and serve.

**Candied citrus peel is made by creating thicker slivers of zest, which is then allowed to boil for approximately 2 minutes in the remaining syrup. Remove from the syrup and cover with granulated sugar, gently folding them in the sugar until coated on all sides. Remove and place on a plate and let cool. The slivers can be as thick and long as you wish.

 

Note: the flan can be made the day before. You can change the flavors of the flan by using other fruit, a single citrus or vanilla extra, etc.

So there you have one of the easiest but creamiest desserts that always creates a splash with its sparkly citrus tones.

 

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

Blog written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Another gloomy and rainy day in New York. Yesterday I baked over 16 dozen cookies and not sure what to do today. However, perhaps this will make your day a little lighter. Here is my vanilla cookie recipe that everyone asks for, even though I make other more intricate and equally flavorful cookies. I guess we all miss our grandmothers's kitchens. I think it is the homey and warm feeling of  the vanilla aroma. Do use good vanilla if possible. I love the Madagascar.

Vanilla Cookies

Makes 24 – 90 cookies depending on the cookie cutter size.

Preparation: 15 minutes to mix

                     ½ hour in the refrigerator

                     Cutting out and baking approximately ½ hour

 

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cups granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

 

In a bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the Vanilla Extract and mix well (Add lemon zest and Lemon Curd here if doing the Lemon Cookies).

 

Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add salt.  Add to the butter mixture a little bit at a time at low speed, and beat well until well mixed.

 

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape each into a ball. Flatten and wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.  The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, and kept in the refrigerator.  Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.

 

Preheat oven to 350F.  You will need 2 – 4 nonstick cookie sheets, or line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface - I use parchment paper without the extra flour - roll out one piece of dough.  Cut out desired shapes.  Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Continue until all the dough is finished.

 

Bake until the cookies are golden and slightly darker on the bottom about 8 minutes.  Turn the tray halfway in the baking process.  Remove the cookies and let cool for about 1 minute. Transfer the cookies to the wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

 

 

Variation:       Lemon Cookies

                        Substitute 2 tsp Lemon extract for Vanilla Extract

                        Add the zest of 1 Lemon       

                                    Add 2 Tbsp Lemon Curd

We Present To You:

We Present To You:

Blog written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Jacquie’s Food for Talk allows me to share personal experiences, and food and entertaining suggestions after years with an Italian husband.  We both come from a very strong tradition of hosting, and our lifestyle has taught me to cater to friends and family as well as those who have dined at the best restaurants and the most elite banquets and tables throughout the world:  the latter at my table happily find relaxation, contentment and a desire to share their thoughts and ideas:  a satisfied palate leads to stimulating conversation.

The food at our table is what we consider a perfect blend of flavors and cultures. Italy is strongly present, but so too are the calming but prominent flavors of my Jamaica. Imagine Italian and Jamaican in one dish. As the years have passed the pendulum has swung a bit away from Italian and more towards Jamaican and Caribbean flavors. Don’t worry though pasta is always served, Antonio, the southern Italian husband insists, …but sometimes with a pretty compelling if not subtle Jamaican twist, to create a brilliant and unexpected marriage of flavors. Just like us. We in the Caribbean adore the many vivid and startling ingredients reflecting our cultural diversity. It’s thrilling to see how two completely different colliding culinary styles and traditions can go into one pot satisfying and pleasing palates on both sides of the ocean.

Do follow along, as this is an open conversation, with an exchange of recipes and entertaining tips. Let’s shake things up a bit in your kitchen to create unforgettable dining experiences.

Quote of the day: We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink…” Epicurious

Photographer: Melissa Hom (http://www.melissahom.com)