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.
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.
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.
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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|
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