Flan Casero (Homemade Flan)

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Flan is one of my all-time favorite desserts.  I first learned to make flan when visiting my daughter who was studying in Argentina.  The original recipe calls for whole milk but I have made it successfully and deliciously with low fat milk.  Either way, you’ll get 1/2 cup of milk in each serving!

It’s easier than you’d think to make this dessert.  And it serves 8… so have a dinner party or save the extras in the fridge just for you!

Flan Casero (Homemade Flan) serves 8

Caramel:

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Set out 8 ramekins. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, mix sugar and water, stir only to combine. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, until the caramel is amber in color. Remove from heat. Work quickly to pour about 1 tablespoon into each ramekin.

Custard:

4 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs plus 2 yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat milk with the sugar over medium heat until mixture starts to steam and bubble around the edges and sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes (do not let it boil).

Using a whisk, beat the eggs and yolks. Add the vanilla. Slowly ladle milk into the eggs, whisking to combine (this is ‘tempering’ the eggs). Add another 2 ladles to eggs and whisk. Slowly pour remaining milk into eggs while whisking to combine. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide strained custard evenly among ramekins. Set ramekins in a baking dish and add enough boiling water to cover halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until custard is just set, about 45 minutes.

Remove ramekins from the water and cool on a baking rack. Place in refrigerator to chill (about 6 hours or up to 3 days). To serve, use a paring knife to cut around the outside of the ramekin and then invert the mold over each serving plate. Enjoy!

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Summer Fruit Dessert

Summer Fruit Dessert

There is such sweetness this time of year!  Ripe fruit and lots of it!!  Here is a great way to enjoy some of this season’s bounty.  Even if you don’t have kiwi or bananas, try strawberries, pitted cherries, cantaloupe, sliced peaches, plums…so many fruits to dip!  Have fun and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Dipped Fruit with Hazelnuts (makes 16 pieces)

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

8 slices fresh kiwi

8 chunks fresh banana

1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or almonds, peanuts, pecans)

Slice fruit and place on parchment lined pan. Put in freezer for 15 minutes to firm the fruit. Melt chocolate in double boiler or in microwave. Dip fruit into melted chocolate, sprinkle with nuts and place on parchment-lined pan. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, until chocolate and nuts are set and fruit remains chilled.

Baked Pumpkin Pudding

Baked Pumpkin Pudding

It’s almost time for Halloween.  Here’s a sweet treat that is packed with nutrients. Made with vitamin A and fiber-rich pumpkin and fat free milk, we’ve got a good-for-you dessert that will make even your pickiest goblin smile!

Baked Pumpkin Pudding (serves 6)

1- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup skim milk

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 egg whites, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:

1/4 cup rolled oats

2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons Earth Balance spread or butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat six ramekins or custard cups with cooking spray.  Place in a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, sugar, egg and spices.  Divide mixture among the ramekins.

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.  Sprinkle evenly over ramekins.

Pour boiling water into baking dish to surround ramekins, 1 inch deep.  Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes (or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean).  When done, transfer ramekins to wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour).  Enjoy!

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 2013

Sweet Ricotta Strawberry Chocolate Cups

Sweet Ricotta Cups

Lately it seems there’s always a request to bring a dessert…to a block party, a grad party, a friend’s party.  This one is a dietitian’s dream!  With sweet strawberries, dark chocolate and low fat ricotta, it’s one of my favorites.  And every time it’s served, it’s a hit!

Sweet Ricotta, Strawberry & Chocolate Cups (makes 18 minis)

1 package won ton skins (18 skins used)

1 cup low fat ricotta

1 ounce (1/4 cup) dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao), chopped

9 ripe strawberries, cut in half and sliced thin

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare mini muffin tins with light coating of cooking spray.  Place 1 skin in each cup, pressing gently to form.  Brush edges lightly with oil.  Bake 7-10 minutes (until very lightly brown).  Allow to cool.

In the meantime, mix sliced strawberries with sugar in a small bowl.  Allow to sit until the strawberries release some juice (5 minutes).  Combine ricotta and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Mix in chocolate.  Fold in strawberries.

To serve, place about 1 tablespoon filling in each cup.  Arrange on a plate for serving and ENJOY!