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Coconut Flan with Curried Custard Sauce

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The street outside the elegant old mansion is in disrepair. Inside, in what was once the grand entrance hall, a couple of stray dogs are camping out on dirty marble floors, and a poor family has set up housekeeping. Climbing the crumbling staircase, you may begin to have reservations about this culinary adventure, but at the second landing there is a large black door. Ring the bell and a face appears at the peephole. When you are recognized, the door swings open and you step into La Guarida, a world of well-dressed patrons and great food. The innovative menu features new Cuban recipes like this delicate coconut flan served with a subtle but exotic custard sauce.

Serves6

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, rich, spiced, sweet

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1¾ cups thick fresh coconut milk, or 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Curried Custard Sauce
  • Guava Sauce

Instructions

Place 6 individual 6-ounce metal flan molds or ovenproof custard cups in a baking pan large enough to hold them without touching each other. Place ¾ cup of the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and the syrup takes on an amber tinge, 8 to 10 minutes. Quickly but carefully pour a portion of the caramel into each mold, immediately tilting the mold to evenly coat the bottom with caramel.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the half-and-half and the remaining ¾ cup sugar. Simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until just combined, then slowly whisk in the half-and-half mixture, coconut milk, and vanilla. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, then ladle it into the caramel-coated molds. Place the baking pans on the middle rack of the oven and pour enough boiling water around the molds to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the molds. Carefully slide the rack back into the oven. Bake the flans for 50 to 60 minutes, until barely set in the middle. Remove the pan from the oven and let the custards cool slowly in the water bath. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least one hour.

When ready to serve, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of each flan, penetrating about ½ inch below the surface. Turn the molds over onto individual dessert plates. One by one, grasp the plate and the mold firmly and shake up and down until the flan drops onto the plate. Carefully remove the molds and allow the caramel to drizzle over the flans.

Spoon a ribbon of Curried Custard Sauce around each flan. Place 3 or 4 dots of Guava Sauce in the custard sauce and draw the tip of a paring knife through the dots to make a decorative pattern. Serve immediately.

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