Lavender Cardamom Scented Flan de la Casa

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

One of the things I enjoy the most is creating a recipe on the spur of the moment. The ideas seem to emerge in my head and I feel the immediate urgency to capture these ideas in a creation.  

Those who know me know that it never really ends there! I like to experiment and combine flavors, aromas and I want to “experience my senses” (as the byline of my blog states).

Complete 10-second survey to read full article!
One of the things I enjoy the most is creating a recipe on the spur of the moment. The ideas seem to emerge in my head and I feel the immediate urgency to capture these ideas in a creation.  

Those who know me know that it never really ends there! I like to experiment and combine flavors, aromas and I want to “experience my senses” (as the byline of my blog states).

In playing around with ideas, I came up with a lavender-cardamom combination. Not long after that I got talking with the lovely Steph from one of my favorite blogs, Desserts For Breakfast. We began discussing all the delicious dessert possibilities one could create with the combination: while Steph absolutely loves the flavor of lavender, I tend to be careful with it in my cooking and baking. There is nothing more awful than having to eat something that smells like grandma’s old pillows! So I have always restricted myself with lavender. On the other hand, I love cardamom. It’s a spice I have related to all my life. As an Indian it was used liberally in the kitchens of my mother and grandmother, used to perfume biryanis and spice teas on a daily basis. In my own kitchen I use it not only in the ways I have watched them, but I am bolder in experimenting with cardamom while I develop my own recipes.

The more Steph and I discussed our ideas, the more apparent it became that we had to do something about it. We really needed to get into our kitchens and create something. We wanted to surprise each other; aside from the fact that lavender and cardamom were going to be two ingredients, we had no idea what the other was making.

I initially wanted to make a crème caramel, but decided to take it a level higher: a flan de la casa! The ultimate sin in my books! Richer than rich, creamier than creamy and sweeter than sweet. One of the most common desserts in Latin America and Spain, what makes the flan de la casa so decadently rich is the amount of eggs—not to mention the condensed and evaporated milk used to make the custard. The waistline will scream a scream of horror at your intentions to make this dessert...but you’ll have your friends eating out of your hands with just a tiny bite.

Picture a scene scented with lavender and spiced with cardamom. A table set for friends on my terrace on a sunny afternoon. Fresh figs, spiced tea and dessert-loving company, indulging in a decadent dessert and enjoying every minute of each other’s company. Close your eyes and savor the flavors in the flan. The custard is subtly infused with the flowery notes of lavender and boldly scented with ethereal aromas of cardamom, harmonizing with the caramel sugar and sweet richness of the custard it becomes a sublime dessert to sink into.

Method:

  1. The flan is cooked using the bain-marie method, so prepare a larger pan, one that can hold your dessert bowls or casserole. Place the individual bowls, casserole dish or loaf pan in the pan. Put the kettle on and boil some water. Preheat oven to 140ºC (284ºF).
  1. In a small, non-stick saucepan heat the sugar over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to distribute the sugar until it is dissolved and begins to brown.
  1. Lift the pan over the heat (just a few centimeters) and continue to brown the sugar until it becomes a dark amber. Do not stir at this point as it causes the sugar to crystallize. Pour caramelized sugar into the casserole dish, large loaf pan or individual dessert bowls/glasses, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan evenly with the caramel. Work quickly because the caramel hardens fast.
  1. In a blender, combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs and milk. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Add the lavender and cardamom pods and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Sieve the mixture then place back in blender and whizz it for just one more minute. Pour over the caramelized sugar.
  1. Bake for approx. 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes or until just set and the tops are still wobbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for several hours, preferably overnight.
  1. You can serve the flan in individual bowls or turn it out onto a plate. To take it out of the form, (after it is cold) run a thin knife around the edges. Put a plate on top of the baking pan and flip over.
Price: $4.95 Add to Cart
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • 100% refund
  • Free updates