Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cherry Flan

I was standing in front of super market freezer, having an emotional break down , finding out that there was no whipping creme on the shelf. Oh my, I stopped by 3 different places and they were running out of this thing? The only one carton was the French creme, President, which costs twice as much. Um...may be they didn't carry them anymore, I thought. But this is an expat market, they usually don't have a merry-go-round merchandises (if you've lived in china, you know how fast things discontinued on the shelf , especially imported stuff. For instance, one day you surprisingly/happily find a bar of new zealand butter in the freezer, you plan to by them sometimes, one week later, it's replaced by a pack of frozen dumpling, as easy as that) Maybe they found out that this is not a money-maker (?) I don't think so. Nestle creme (yeah, this is what I'm looking for, I didnt' mention it earlier) , the swiss name-locally made is somewhat popular. I just had hoped that there was nothing to do with Melamine scandal in dairy industry. Anyway, heading home sadly, I bought a pack of salmon instead, need to cure my disappointment with fish congee, my comfort food.

I need to bake something, something doesn't require whipping creme. Flipping through my recipes collection and stopped at a Blueberry Flan. I wrote a remark that this was very good. I baked it in 1996 when I was in collage. oh gosh, That was so, 12 years my my. I was such a rooker. The book was my second cook book that I illegally copied from a friend because I couldn't afford it. I treasure it as my mentor. I love this book and would recommend anyone to have it. It's called "The Best of Baking" by Annette Wolter, Christian Teubner, 1991. There are only used version by now. Unlike some of recent cook books, every recipes are so reliable and worth trying.

The pie shell, was the use of cooking crumb (from fine cooking magazine) left from my previous baking. It was SO...o..o...o good that everyone was asking me what I used as the pie base. It was crunchy, caramel-liked and has little nutty flavor. Here is the recipe.

Flan base (cookies crumbs - you can make this weeks ahead and keep them in airtight container)
This one is a little difficult to hanlde, I have to warn you. It tends to stick to the perchment/wax paper. Once done, put the tray off the oven and spray little water on the back of the baking sheet, it will be easier to peel off that way.
1/2 C of butter
1 C nuts of your choice , finely chopped.
1 egg
1tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sugar
Turn on the oven 350 F
In medium heat, put the butter in the sauce pan. Brown it carefully, once you see it turns golden / light brownyish, immediately remove from heat , as it conitnues to cook even though removed from direct heat. Pour into an empty bowl, set aside for 5-7 minute. In a separate bowl, put egg, vanilla, salt, sugar and beat slightly with fork. Gradually pour in butter and stir until blend. Scoop a heap of teaspoon full on the well-greased wax paper, spare 2 -3 inch apart as these things spread a lot. Bake for 5-10 minute until gold brown. Once done, remove from tray and let it cool for a few minutes. Gently turn the Cookie sheet upside down , spray little water on the back side of the sheet, wait until it absorbs the moist before you start to peel the sheet from the cookies. Be careful not to over-spray, you dont' want your cookies to be soggy, do you?

Smash them in the bowl and put in the removeable base pan. You dont' need butter as the cookies crumbs are butter-rich. Be sure to have a foil wrapped under the pan as butter will leak during baking. put this in the fridge while prepare filling

Filling (Adapted from The Best of Baking , 1991)
3 cups of blueberries (I used maraschino cherries)
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup (125g) granulated sugar
1 cup (125g) toasted ground almonds
powder sugar , for dusting
Dry cherries on paper towels. Set aside. Beat egg yolks and half of sugar until pale and creamy, mix in ground almonds. Beat egg white until stiff then beat in remaining sugar. Fold egg white into egg yolk misture. Stir in cherries.
Pour on flan tin and bake at 375 F (190C) and bake for 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in tin and transfer to the rack. When completely cool, sift power sugar over top or serve with whipped creme.
I chilled this over night so that the base was hardened a bit. Be sure to get your friend stong folks to dig as the base is a chewing-challenger. Enjoy!