Tag Archives: dessert

how not to make flan

1 Aug

I don’t know how to make flan.
I still don’t know how to make flan.

But, this recipe is super easy, and it came out pretty well—it’s worth a shot if you have a passion for custard.

Fail 1: I opted to stir the caramel as it was bubbling… I don’t know why I did it, I know how to make caramel! At any rate, it thickened out of control, and I poured it off into a hot baking pan. After a moment of indecision, I poured my custard into the hot baking pan on top of the custard—no curdles to be seen—and foiled tight.

Fail 2: I think I left my pan in the oven slightly longer than recommended (blame it on the wine), so the outer ring of my flan was a bit bubbly and scrambled egg-like. The center was creamy and the caramel was dark and delicious. The trickiest thing was deciding on the doneness of the caramel, and if it would be okay to pour the custard right over the hot caramel.

At unveil, the flan clung to the pan and a small section ripped out upon inversion. Luckily, the deluge of caramel sauce that followed handily masked the botch…flan-tastic!

really easy flan
don’t flan-it-up (like me)

* 1 cup white sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool. Serves 8.

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bon appétit’s browned butter brownies

28 Mar

I feel particularly devilish watching an entire stick of butter melt into a frothy pool. If you wait a little longer, foam gives way to reveal brown specks with a distinct toasty aroma. It brings me great joy to pour this liquid gold over pasta, especially homemade butternut squash ravioli.

On a recent cover, Bon Appétit featured a nefarious stack of Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts. Browned butter in a brownie? Yes, please!

I whipped up a batch for a trip to wine country knowing they’d pair nicely with my favorite late harvest zin at Bella. I love that these brownies achieve the chewy and fudgey texture of a store-bought mix with a unique dimension of nutty flavor from the browned butter. I used unsweetened cocoa power from Scharffen Berger and substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips for the walnuts. Perhaps the extra chocolate chips were a bit over-the-top, but I’m sure any stoner would whole-heartedly approve.

browned butter brownies
gnaw-ty chocolate treat

* 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 large eggs, chilled
* 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or walnuts)

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8 x 8 x 2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1⁄4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in chocolate chips (or nuts). Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. Makes 16 pieces.

meyer lemon curd bars cockaigne

9 Mar

Every spring, Christina takes a trip to California for a treacherous dose of karaoke, wine tasting, and girly shenanigans. Fortunately, “Girls Gone Wineland” has become an annual affair — three years and counting. Rosie invites us to stay in an adorable guest house, near the citrus groves of her family vineyard. After a night of hot tubbing and Kinect-enabled dance competitions, we begin the day picking perfectly yellow Meyer lemons. At home, I pile the fruit basket high with a bounty of at least 2 dozen!

What better way to celebrate these sweet citrus gems than a batch of luscious lemon bars? This recipe is a favorite of mine from Amanda Hesser’s charming biography (and cookbook), Cooking for Mr. Latte, a gift from my friend Bifen. I love the decadent shortbread crust, which brims with tangy and creamy golden goodness.

meyer lemon curd bars cockaigne
for when life gives you lemons

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 6 large eggs
* 2 1/2 cups sugar (3 cups if using regular lemons)
* grated zest of 2 meyer lemons (1 lemon if using regular lemons)
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the confectioners sugar into large bowl. Cut in the cubes of butter (I used a food processor) until mixture is the size of small peas. Tip into a 13″x9″ pan, then use your fingers to pat and press into the base and 3/4″ up the sides to prevent leaking. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack, reduce oven temperature to 300-degrees.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Sift remaining flour into the mixture and fold together until smooth. Pour batter into baked crust and put in oven. Bake until top is set, about 35 minutes. Remove pan to rack to cool completely before cutting into 3″x2″ bars. Makes 18 bars.