Monday, November 17, 2008

Pomegranate Flan

I've already extolled on my love of pomegranates; now it's time to wax about the wonders of flan. It's a traditional custard dish like creme brulee, except in the Spanish version there's a layer of liquid caramel instead of a caramel crust. It's one of those dishes that seems like it should be difficult to prepare, but I actually only spent around 20 minutes assembling the ingredients. The only special thing you would want to buy would be pomegranate juice, aside from that all ingredients should be found in any basically stocked kitchen.

There's a little trick I like to use with my sugar, and this seems the appropriate time to share it. I got the idea from Alton Brown, bless him. I had some sealed madagascar vanilla beans chillin' around my kitchen for several months; I wasn't quite sure what I could do with them, but I do appreciate the smell. If you keep your sugar in an airtight container (which I think everyone should do) you can add the beans and voila -- within 48 hours, you will have vanilla sugar. It doesn't make a huge difference in the taste of any dish I've made but it smells lovely and can't hurt :)

Back to the flan. The original recipe, from the POM website, lists several unitaskers in its instructions and seems to make the process more complicated than it actually is. So I'm going ahead and posting my method with a few notes from the original recipe.

Pomegranate syrup:

1c pomegranate juice
3/4c sugar

Put these in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until you're left with about 2/3c of syrup. Set aside for later.

4 eggs
2 1/4c whole milk
1/2c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 325, and place a large cake pan with about an inch of water in to preheat as well. I used a cupcake pan for my flans, so make sure that the pan can fit into the water-holding one. You want the water to be very hot when the flans go in the oven.

Whisk the eggs together and add your additional ingredients. Scoop the flan liquid into the cups, about 2/3 full. Very carefully place the cupcake pan in the water-holding pan; this lets a more gentle, even heat cook the bottom of the flans similar to a double boiler method.

The original recipe dictates 30-35 minutes of cooking time; mine took well over an hour. They're done when you insert a knife near the center and it emerges clean. Fortunately this isn't a dish you have to worry about "falling", so check frequently if your oven is as slow as mine!

Once the flans are done, remove them and let them cool for at least half an hour before putting them in the fridge. Refridgerate for 3 hours. I cheated, and I only chilled mine for an hour because I had to see how they tasted. Spoon about 1tbsp of the pomegranate syrup over the tops of the flans and put them back in the fridge for up to 24 hours. You can garnish with pomegranate seeds or orange slices; I used raspberries. Once the flans are fully chilled, loosen them from the cups with a butter knife and gently scoop them out.

1 comment:

Cynthe said...

Oooooh! I'd love to see a photo of this. Since I don't eat eggs, I may try the pom syrup over a vanilla pudding instead. Lovely idea.

And did you ever make that cardamom pudding with the Lingonberry-Orange compote? Came looking for it...

Cynthe ~