Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coconut Flan with Two Sauces

I've been planning for about four years now to really learn how to make Thai food.  The farthest I've actually gotten in executing this plan is buying lots of cocount milk.  It's not seasonal or local in any way.  But combine it with local eggs and milk from Sherman Market and strawberries that I froze last spring, it makes it into the "mostly local" category. 

Coconut Flan
This recipe is based on the Flan recipe from the first Gourmet cookbook, with all sorts of changes.

3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 13-oz cans coconut milk
1 cup milk
5 eggs
5 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325. 

Get out a loaf pan.  Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup eater in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to aboal and boil, stirring occasionally, until syrup begins to turn golden, 5-10 minutes.  Continue to boil, swirling pan, until caramel is deep golden-brown, about 2 minutes more, then immediately pour into loaf pan and tils to coat bottom and 1/2 inch up sides.  Let caramel harden.

Bring cocount milk and cream to a bare simmer in a saucepan over moderate heat.

Meanwhile, bring a full teapot to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk togeth eggs, yolks, salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a large bowl.  Add hot coconut milk mixutre in a slow stream, whisking constantly, then stir in vanilla extract.  Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into loaf pan and cover pan with a double layer of foil. 

Put loaf pan in a larger baking pan and pour enough boiling water into baking pan to reach halfway up sides of loaf pan.  Bake 1 1/2 hours.  Remove loaf pan from water, remove foil, and cool completely on a rack.  You can serve it once it's cool, but it's much easier to work with if you can then loosely wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate at least 3 hours. 

Run a thin knife around sides of loaf pan, invert a platter over pan, and invert flan onto platter.  Serve with tureens of sauce to be ladeled over individual slices.

Strawberry Sauce
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 heaping tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup sugar

1. Place berries in a small pan and slowly defrost over low heat, stirring every 5 minutes or so. When completely defrosted, mash with a potato masher until mostly smooth but still a little lumpy.

Raise heat to medium and continue heating until starting to simmer.

Add vanilla paste and sugar. You may need more sugar, depending on personal taste. Reduce to medium low and cook another ten minutes to meld flavors, stirring frequently.

Alternatively, fresh berries can be used. If so, cut berries in half and add a little water to pan to start. Stir and mash as you heat. Then continue with step 2.

Mango Sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen 1/2" mango chunks
1 tsp. almond extract
1 T butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes.