Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adventures in Pumpkin Flan

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone!!  I hope yours was as relaxing as mine.  I enjoyed some time in Connecticut.  It was nice to be out of the city.  I never thought the suburbs were quiet until I lived in big cities.  Now every time I am getting ready for bed in the room I grew up in, the quiet is so pervasive it is almost difficult to sleep. 

Over the holiday, I had the pleasure of introducing one of my roommates (who is originally from San Fransisco) to a Connecticut Thanksgiving with my family.  Since she is allergic to gluten, we decided to make a special gluten-free dessert to share.  Lo and behold, the December issue of Martha Stewart Living had a recipe for Pumpkin Flan.  The actual recipe comes from the book Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn. 

 The result was a beautiful, spicy, sweet creation I think you will enjoy. 

 Now, don't let this seemingly fancy dessert fool you!!  Here is the recipe, it is actually quite simple and your guests will be more than impressed. 

1/2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cooked pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c half-and-half or cream (I used low fat half-and-half)
5 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 350. 
(Ok now comes the only complicated part, more on this below)
-Put the granulated sugar in a pie plate, set on the center rack in the over, and bake until the sugar is caramelized 8-12 minutes.  Swirl to cover the bottom of the pie plate with the caramel.
-In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the dry ingredients.  Then stir in the pumpkin.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, and vanilla.  Then blend the egg mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
-Set the pie plate with the caramel bottom in a large roasting pan then pour the custard over the caramel.  With care, pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the pie plate.
-Bake until custard is set, about 1 hour and 10 minutes then cool and set in the fridge to chill.  Once it has cooled off, run a knife around the outside edge of the flan and invert it onto a plate. Scoop out and serve with whipped cream.

 So, about that complicated part....carmelizing the sugar took much much longer than the 8-12 minutes from the recipe.  I'm not sure if the oven needed to be higher or if the recipe was wrong.  I also have to admit that I wasn't feeling well while we were making the recipe, so a lot of the work fell to my roommate.  She probably knows more about what happened with the sugar.  Anyhow, eventually it worked out but it was tricky so just note that when you try it.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!! 


  1. Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed visiting your blog and reading the recipes etc. I'm waiting on a kitchen update I may get inspired now and try some new things when the new stove goes in.

  2. Oh I'm so glad you feel inspired! Right now I'm reading a Christmas cookbook and I just want to make everything in it. Thanks for reading!