Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coconut Milk Flan with Ancho Chile Caramel

I'm always looking for new ways to challenge my creativity in the kitchen. It is so much fun to take a simple concept and elevate it with new flavors and dimensions. Recently Whole Foods partnered with Cook Taste Eat, a recipe website focused on helping home cooks create inventive meals with their fabulously produced demo videos, to put forth a challenge for food bloggers: create an appetizer or dessert using Whole Food 365 brand Coconut Milk with a Cinco de Mayo theme.

My first instinct was to do an appetizer because that is usually my forte. However the more I mulled over concepts and flavor profiles the perfect answer came to me- Flan! Awhile back I learned a technique to make caramel with coconut milk base and coconut milk is also the perfect texture to include in a custard. With the key ingredient doing double duty how could this recipe not be a winner! Of course I couldn't just settle there so I took the caramel up yet another level adding some spice and flavor of Ancho Chile to make this the most unique flan ever to grace your Cinco de Mayo table.

This recipe makes 8 servings in 7 oz Ramekins 
Prep time: 1 hour 
Bake Time: 1 hour 
Cool time: 1 hour (can be made the day before and cooled overnight)
  (Total 3 hours)


1 Can Whole Foods 365 brand Coconut Milk (13.5 ozs)
1 Dried Ancho Chile, rough chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground Chipotle pepper
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Agave Syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Can Whole Foods 365 brand Coconut Milk (13.5 ozs)
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 ozs)
3 Eggs


In a medium saucepan over high heat bring 1 can of Coconut Milk to a boil
As soon as it begins to boil remove from heat and stir in rough chopped dried Ancho Chile, loose seeds included, stem and pod removed

Cover and let steep for 10 minutes so the chile can impart flavor into the Coconut milk
After 10 minutes strain a 3/4 cup of the coconut milk for use now, set aside the remaining liquid continuing to steep and gain more flavor
Add the 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle pepper to the reserve liquid that is steeping
In a medium saucepan over low/medium heat (3 out of 10 if 10 is high heat) whisk together the strained 3/4 cup of Coconut milk, cup of sugar, Agave syrup, & salt.
Simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches the soft ball stage (235* F, should take between 25 minutes to half an hour)
Strain the reserved Coconut milk and stir gently into the caramel
Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches the hard ball stage (another 30 minutes or so)
While caramel continues to simmer preheat oven to 350* F
Arrange your ramekins on a baking sheet with at least a 1/2 inch lip or edge (you don't want your ramekins sliding off!)

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, once beaten add your second can of coconut milk & can of sweetened condensed milk
Caramel should be reaching the hard ball stage at this point. Remove from heat and pour into a glass pouring measuring cup for ease
Evenly distribute the caramel amongst your ramekins arranged on the baking sheet. Turn each ramekin in your hands coating the sides with the caramel
Pour in custard mix filling to the inside lip of each ramekin
Cover the whole sheet with Aluminum foil and transfer to your preheated oven to bake for 1 hour
After baking for one hour remove from the oven and remove tin foil allowing to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes then transfer to the fridge for another 30 minutes (you can make this the day prior and refrigerate over night, in this instance you will want to allow the flan to come to room temp before serving, you may even choose to microwave it for 30 seconds so caramel warms and it is easier to plate)
To serve slide a knife around the edge of the ramekin, invert a small plate over the top of the ramekin and holding both sides flip it over and give it a good couple shakes loosening the flan and allowing it to land caramel side up on the plate! Spread any of the caramel remaining in the ramekin over your flan. Enjoy!

Eating this dish you will get a wonderful warmth from the chile in the caramel, the tropical sweetness of the coconut milk in the custard, and that homey texture we all love. Forewarning this dessert is very sweet! If you prefer an option to lessen the sweetness you can add 1 Tablespoon of lime zest to your custard mix. This lends a very unique flavor to the dish and is a fun variation! In tests the preference was split straight down the middle so try it both ways and let me know what you like best.

The most enjoyable part of the recipe testing process is always sharing with family and friends. Gathering their input and introducing them to new flavors and techniques is what motivates me to keep challenging myself!

 In exchange for writing this blog and tweeting a link to this blog, I received an entry into the Food Blogger to Media Star Promotion. For the Official Rules, visit http://www.cooktasteeat.com/food-blogger-media-star-official-rules.

1 comment:

  1. 3 Studies REVEAL How Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat.

    This means that you literally get rid of fat by eating Coconut Fat (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from major medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!