Monday, March 23, 2009

Deconstructed Flan

The title is a great name for this recipe for a couple of reasons. First, it is literally what it says it is - all of the components of flan - namely custard and caramelized sugar syrup - piled in a dessert glass instead of molded like creme caramel. But more appropriately for this blog, I like the name 'Deconstructed' Flan because almost every ingredient in a real flan is not vegan! Use a few savvy replacements, however, and you too can enjoy this delicious dessert.

This is another recipe that begins with the process of draining yogurt to make 'yogurt cheese'. (I did the same recently in a Tzatziki recipe). I still don't think that this method works quite the way it should with soy yogurt as it does with cow's milk yogurt, but you can mostly approximate it.

Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, and place the colander in a large bowl. (In a pinch, you can use coffee filters or paper towels in place of cheesecloth; I used the latter when I realized I was out of cheesecloth around midnight!) Pour one 32-ounce carton of vanilla soy yogurt (such as Silk) into the colander; cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 12 hours. Spoon the drained soy yogurt into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until you're ready to assemble the 'flan' later.

Now it's time to make soy ice cream! In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup raw sugar with the equivalent of 3 eggs using egg replacer (I highly recommend using Ener-G egg replacer for this recipe, instead of other methods such as flax seed etc.).

Combine 1 cup plain vegan creamer (such as Silk original flavor creamer) with 1 cup plain soy milk (again, Silk is my go-to brand) in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slit open a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the soy milk mixture; add the bean. Continue cooking until a thermometer reaches 180 degrees, stirring frequently so the mixture doesn't boil!

Gradually pour the soy milk mixture into the 'egg' mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Transfer back to the saucepan, and return to a burner over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly; the mixture should be slightly thick.

Place the saucepan in an ice-filled bowl and let stand until it reaches room temperature (about 25 to 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove the vanilla bean.

Pull out your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions - I use one from Krups which stirs a mixture into 'ice cream' in about 30 minutes. Whatever the case, make sure to read instructions in advance - I know with my Krups I have to freeze the freezer bowl starting 24 hours in advance, so this would be a bad time to figure that out!

Transfer your soy ice cream mixture to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least another hour, so it is completely firm.

Soon before dessert, make the sauce: place 1/3 cup raw sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally so it melts evenly. Continue to cook one final minute until golden.

Carefully pour in 1/2 cup boiling water - the mixture will bubble and splatter! Return to the burner over medium-high heat. Slit a vanilla bean open lengthwise; scrape in the seeds and add the bean. Cook for a final 2 minutes (the mixture will reduce down to about 6 tablespoons).

Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes, then remove the vanilla bean.

Now you're ready to assemble! Place 1/4 cup of the 'yogurt cheese' in the bottom of 6 dessert glasses. Top with 1 tablespoon of the sauce and 1/2 a cup of the 'ice cream'. Each flan is 320 calories.

vanilla soy yogurt $2.69
soy creamer $1.99
plain soy milk $2.49
vanilla beans $11.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance