Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lavender Cardamom Scented Flan de la Casa

Lavender Cardamom Flan de la Casa (0002) by Meeta K. Wolff   

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.  

It happened with these Sugar and Spice cookies, where I was inclined to use some edible lavender I got from sweet Hilda over at Saffron and Blueberry. For 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 this blog states). So I played around with the ideas I had and came up with a lavender-cardamom combination. It was a winner!

It was not long after that while tweeting those cookies and the powerful combination of lavender and cardamom that I got talking (tweeting?) with the lovely Steph from one of my favorite blogs Desserts For Breakfast. Incidentally it was Hilda who actually got us together a while back. 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 grandmas old pillows! So I have always restricted myself with lavender.

Lavender Cardamom Flan de la Casa (Diptych 01) by Meeta K. Wolff

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. It was used to perfume biryanis and spice teas on a daily basis. In my own kitchen I use it not only in the way 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. There are often times I really dislike living so far away away from so many blogger friends I have made over the span of the (almost) five years I have been blogging. The disadvantages here are obvious! The fact that two continents and an ocean separates us simply meant we would not be able to be together, standing in each others kitchens, laughing and playing around with ingredients and simply having a great time with each other. Not to mention taste testing ourselves to oblivion.

Why hasn’t anyone invented a teleportation machine?

With the lack of such a vital machine we were left to our own kitchens and devices. We wanted to surprise each other and besides for the fact that lavender and cardamom were going to be two ingredients we had no idea what the other one is making. Until today – reveal day!

What would I make if Steph really came around? As I know Steph has a sweet tooth and like me craves creamy desserts – I mean she lives by my motto – desserts for breakfast – I knew fairly early on what I would treat her to. 

Lavender Cardamom Flan de la Casa (0016) by Meeta K. Wolff

I initially wanted to make a crème caramel but decided to take it a level higher for Steph. A flan de casa! The ultimate sin in my books! Richer than rich, creamier than creamy and sweeter than sweet. The waistline will scream a scream of horror at your intentions to make this dessert but trust me you’ll have your friends eating out of your hands with just a tiny bite of this dessert.

That is what I had in mind for Steph. The perfect yet sinful dessert, scented with her favorite lavender and spiced with my favorite cardamom, a table set for two on my terrace on a sunny afternoon. Fresh figs, spiced tea and two dessert loving girls indulging in a decadent dessert and enjoying every minute of each others company.

Lavender Cardamom Flan de la Casa (0001) by Meeta K. Wolff 

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 flan, one of the most common desserts in Latin America and Spain, is not particularly healthy, and probably should be made on very special occasions for special friends. The waistline will thank you for that for sure, but just a spoonful of this and you’ll immediately notice why a flan de casa overrides a crème caramel in my books!

Lavender Cardamom Scented Flan de la Casa

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

7 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
250 ml milk
1 teaspoon green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon edible lavender
2 tablespoons sugar

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 140 degrees C.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Bake for approx. 1 hour to 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.

  6. 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.

 


Verdict

Lavender Cardamom Flan de la Casa (0006) by Meeta K. Wolff

Close the 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.

So if you’ll excuse me I am on my way over to Steph’s place who has created the most incredible lavender.cardamom dessert duo for our dessert date.

You might like these creamy custard dessert ideas from WFLH:

 
Chocolate and Raspberry Crème Caramel Sweet Potato Flan Panna Cotta with Saffron & Cardamom

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

30 comments :

  1. do you want me to die now? I think I've read your last description ten times, it's so inspiring!
    Now I'm heading to have alook at the other result!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks delicious! I love Spanish and Portuguese dessert! And with desserts "the richer the better" is the rule.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Im new here, but I had to tall you how great that looks! Such an amazing idea! Thanks a lot ;) I love your blog!

    -Amalia

    http://buttersweetmelody.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the props and the natural light is so beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the way you always combine the unusual flavors together. I am scrolling up and down Meeta, the play of light & shadow is so beautiful in the pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Meeta! You make me so sad that I can't be there in Germany. These look absolutely *divine*! I've never made flan before, but after your post, I feel as if I should drop everything today and just make flan de la casa! (And then sit outside with figs and spiced tea to enjoy it!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Why hasn’t anyone invented a teleportation machine?"

    Why indeed, my sister-from-another-mother?? :o) I would be over there like a shot to share these little pots of happiness with you. A well made flan is a thing of great beauty & I adore cardamom. Shapes (and tastes!) that go together :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, I am all for the teleportation machine! Wouldn't that be wonderful.
    Desserts with Lavender are always special. I admire your beautiful pictures during every visit.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Meeta, I have been your secret blog-lover for sometime now. I am totally smitten by your blog, your recipes and ofcourse the beautiful pics that accompany them. Its a visual treat. Hats off to u for such a lovely blog

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely flavors and gorgeous flans!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes please! This looks like such an indulgent yet subtle and relaxing dessert. Love your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow Meeta! Stunning and sounds delicious. You are amazing.:)
    Lora

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love cardamom too but have never seen the actual pods. The dessert looks sensational!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is just like the Filipino leche flan using both evaporated and condensed milk but I love that you added cardamom and lavender. Something I will add next time I make flan.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your pictures. It looks lip smacking.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Meeta! I'm back! Finally had the time to properly sit down and drool over this post. @Juls was right--I had to re-read that last description over and over again. NOM! I nearly took my spoon and tried to reach *into* the computer screen. (argh, technology is so cruel sometimes!)

    Anyways, thank you so much for such a thoughtful dessert! You were so right that I love all things creamy. Nothing makes me happier than finding another person who appreciates the value of smooth and ultra-creamy dessert!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Gorgeous! I have never tasted anything lavendar scented as I don't really like the smell of lavendar but these I would gladly try. I think your combo of lavendar and cardamon is intriguing and the flans definitely look decadent and rich. And I so love baking across time and space with other food bloggers.

    ReplyDelete
  18. As you know I tried this for the first time last week and fell in love with the rich texture and deliciousness! Now that I know why it's so rich and delicious I need to diet for a month! LOL.. as if I could diet! Anyway, I agree with you about the lavender taste. I had a lavender cupcake once and the flavour was so strong I almost gagged, it needs to be just the slightest hint!

    ReplyDelete
  19. A French, Swedish and Indian dessert all wrapped up into one. This looks AMAZING Meeta!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Meeta, I LOVE how you combine wonderful fragrant flavors in your desserts. Lavender & Cardamom, wow what a combination! Love it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. This sounds wonderful! I always wonder what to do with the huge bag of cardamoms I have, bookmarked!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ooh! This looks so decadent Meeta! I love how you're not afraid to experiment...the lavender and cardamom sound divine together!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think experiments are wonderful when you get a result like this, they look great!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I also want one of those teleport machines! Mainly so I can teleport to Germany to devour your flan. The combination of lavender & cardamom sounds very intriguing, will have to try it out.

    ReplyDelete
  25. You always have great set up for your pictures. They are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sunita and my flatmate were actually the ones who introduced me to cardamom in desserts and got me to love it! I think I'll absolutely adore this recipe + the inclusion of lavender. Beautiful! x

    ReplyDelete
  27. These look like such comforting desserts, Meeta, so creamy and scented so beautifully. Mmm. Love them. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. love the puddle at the bottom- a surprise at the end! lavender and cardamom, a must-try. beautiful. x shayma

    ReplyDelete
  29. I can almost smell these looking at them! Such pretty light in the pictures too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Meeta,

    The photos on your blog are fantastic, especially this one. It certainly convinced me to try baking this flan in my kitchen. It was absolutely delightful!!! I wouldn't have thought the flavor combinations of lavendar and cardamom would turn out this good...loved it

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta