A classic, creamy dessert that is a favorite in Spain and France (called Crème Caramel there). A silky, not too sweet, custard surrounded by a smooth caramel finish, Flan is a wonderful dessert for Thanksgiving, for any special meal and for pampering yourself on a weekday! Bake in individual cups if you prefer, although the full pan Flan is quite spectacular! This version is dairy free with the custard made with maple syrup—such a delicious flavor. I haven’t made this in quite some time and am glad that Flan was the favorite of the main character in our Foodie Lit choice this month. It’s still a favorite!
In mixing fiction and fact in Expulsion, Sherry Ostroff gives us the breadth and the details of the Spanish Inquisition, the fear, the betrayals, the mercilessness and the ruthlessness of the agents of the Catholic Church and the monarchy. She also gives us the beauty and happiness of the lives Jews had enjoyed in Spain for more than 1,000 years.
The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 had its roots in the defeat of the Moors and the total Christianization of Spain and its ripples lasted 500 years. Sherry’s focus on the months before the expulsion reveal the tension, the disruption, the fear and the horror. You will be drawn into the fabric of history of this era, fraught with danger, impossible decisions and heartbreak.
1 cup granulated sugar; divided
1/4 cup water
2 cups Vanilla Almond milk
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup maple syrup
⅛ tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together sugar and water, pour into in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Swirl once or twice in pan until the sugar mixture becomes amber colored. Remove from heat.
Pour the caramelized sugar quickly into an 8-9” round pie pan as the caramel hardens quickens. Swirl to cover the bottom of the pan and set aside to cool and harden.
Place pan in a larger baking pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine almond milk, eggs, egg yolks, maple syrup and salt and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared pan.
Mix cinnamon and nutmeg together. Sprinkle over the custard.
Place both pans into oven. Carefully add hot water to larger baking pan until the water is halfway up the side of the pie pan. This is called a Bain Marie and helps cook the custard gently.
Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes, until center is just set. The custard should still jiggle slightly. Remove pie pan from pan with water and transfer to a wire rack until room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold, run a thin knife around edge. Give the pan a gentle shake to make sure the custard is unmolded. Place a platter over the custard and invert onto a platter. When flan is released carefully lift pain off. The caramel will cover the Flan deliciously.
Make it dairy: Use whole dairy milk instead of almond milk
Adapted from Blue Diamond Almonds