Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gluten Free and Lactose Friendly Pumpkin Flan - The Recipe

Greetings, Everyone! I hope you are having a fabulous weekend.
As promised, I am posting a wonderful recipe for pumpkin flan. Since the recipe that I usually used had condensed milk and evaporated milk, I had to find something else. The goal was to have a wonderful flan for Thanksgiving and since both my husband and I can no longer tolerate cow milk products, I had to find another solution. My previous attempts did not turn out so perfect, so I was happy when I came across a flan recipe on, so my hat is off to epicurious, for giving me a good start to work with and come up with gluten free and lactose friendly pumpkin flan.
Couple of tips before you start cooking. And yes, I am totally being serious:
  • No matter how good you think you are, do not, I repeat, do not move away from the stove when you are making caramel. Your kitchen can turn to a quite smoky place in a matter of seconds. Trust me, I have been there.
  • When you are making caramel, I would go for a pot or a skillet that is not very deep and has a bigger area. For instance, if you are making a caramel in a small pot, it would mean that the height of sugar would be higher, thus it would take longer to caramelize. What happens is that the majority of sugar would caramelize except for certain chunks. Now, by waiting for those chunks to caramelize, you would overcook the rest of caramel. Hopefully, this makes sense.
  • Make sure that your ramekins or whatever you are using fit into a tray and that tray is deep enough to make a water bath.
OK, here we go :)
1 cup of sugar for caramel (you might need more, so have extra ready)
1 cup of sugar for flan
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk creamer ( I used French Vanilla)
1 cup of goat milk (I am sure you can use other non-dairy milk, but keep in mind, that might require additional sweetening)
5 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin. (The actual pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 - 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 3/4 because I don't like too gingery products)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of salt

By following this recipe, keep in mind that you get enough to make 4 small flans using small ramekins and 1 9" round flan.

Then, get ready to do the following 3 steps:
  1. Pre-heat your oven and your ramekins
  2. Put your kettle on with enough water to add to make water bath later
  3. Get your medium sized pot out of the pantry because it will be used for making your flan
Now, let's make some caramel:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and put the dish that you are using in the oven to preheat. In the meantime, cook 1 cup of sugar over medium heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. After it starts to melt, you can swirl your pan to make sure all the sugar will get melted. However, keep a close eye on it, because you don't want to overcook the sugar. If caramel is ruined, the whole flan will be ruined. Lesson # 1.

With the help of oven mitts, take the pre-heated dish or ramekins from your oven and poor the caramel into them. As long as it covers the bottom, you are good. Do not waste time because the caramel cools and hardens quickly. I like to add just a little more because it always pays off at the end, when you are ready to eat your flan!

While the caramel is cooking, let's combine the rest of the ingredients. 
Bring coconut creamer and goat milk to a bare simmer in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Then, remove from the heat. Grab a deep dish and whisk together your eggs, yolk, 1 cup of sugar, until well combined. Add your pumpkin, spices, vanilla, and salt until well combined. To this, slowly add your hot milky mixture in and combine. Alas, you have your custard. If you don't want to have leftovers from pumpkin, you can pour the custard through a mesh sieve and get rid of unwanted leftovers.
While your were working on your custard, your hot water should have been ready by now.

Poor custard over caramel and then slowly add hot water to the tray until the hot water meets the center of ramekins. Again, make sure the hot water reaches the center of your ramekins and not more than that.
Using your mittens, slowly grab the tray with hot water and your ramekins and put in the pre-heated oven.

If you are using your ramekins, it should take about 40 minutes for them to cook. Remember, to check on the flan, you need to slowly move the ramekins. If the custard is jiggly, it is too early. The goal should be this - only the center still jiggles a little. The rest stays put. Lessons # 2.

If you are using the 9" dish, it should take about 1 hour to cook. Again, watch the custard. It might look undercooked to you, but keep in mind, as long as the center jiggles a little bit and not the rest of the custard,  you should be OK.

Remove ramekins or the dish from the water bath and let cool. I recommend to let the flan rest overnight in the fridge.

Enjoy!! It is a perfect Thanksigivng dessert. It might sound more complicated than it actully is. The goal is to stay organized. Get everything ready before you start cooking: the spices, the dishes, eggs, milk etc., so when you are cooking, the ingredients are already out and ready for you to use.

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