I’m not one to indulge in desserts too often, my sweet tooth is… lacking, but Flan is one of the few desserts I can’t keep my hands away from. Which means, I make it as infrequently as possible to keep that heart attack at bay.
I’m always reading about variations to flan, adding chocolate, pumpkin, coconut, it goes on and on. So, I thought of trying my own little tropical variation: Nance.
This is a very interesting little fruit, and it IS little, anywhere between the size of a blueberry and a cherry. In fact, they are known as yellow cherries in English. The fruit has some fat and is tart and becomes sweeter after picking. It grows on a tree and when they’re ready, they fall to the ground, collected, rinsed and thrown in a bottle with water for a few days. This allows them to ripen fully and develop its sweetness.
In order to get the pulp, you either have to use your hands and squish them or put them in the blender, liquid and all, and pulse them a few times to loosen the pulp. In this case, since the nance was sold in the frozen section of my grocers’, I thawed them and whirled them about in the blender with enough water to keep them moving. Strain and you’re ready to make a chicha–Panama’s pumped up fruit drinks, pesada or this to-die-for flan.
Flan de Nance
For the caramel sauce:
1-1/4 cp sugar
For the flan:
6 whole eggs
4 oz cream cheese
1-1/2 cps nance pulp
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cp granulated (white) sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt (bit less if using regular salt)
1-1/2 cps whole milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a Bain-Marie: you will need a baking pan that is large enough to hold the dish you’re baking the flan in. Add hot water to the large pan and place in the oven.
To make the caramel, following the directions I gave you before for a cheese flan; here’s the link.
Making the flan: Put all the ingredients except for the milk in a blender glass and whisk until smooth. To avoid foaming the eggs, do this by pulsating instead of letting the blender go for a long time. It shouldn’t take more than 5-6 pulses.
In the meantime, use the same saucepan you used to make caramel to scald the milk. There will probably be some caramel stuck to the pot. That’s fine, just add the milk and simmer until you see bubbles beginning to form around the edges. Turn off and remove from the heat.
You will now incorporate the hot milk into the egg mixture, because the milk is pretty hot, start the blender on low and slowly drizzle in the milk/sugar mix. As soon as all the milk is added, turn off the blender. Pour the custard into the carameled baking dish. Place the dish with the custard into the pan with water.
If you bake it in a 9-inch dish, it will probably be in the oven for close to 45 minutes. You’ll know it is ready when the top is golden and it begins to separate from the sides, but there’s still a jiggle at the center. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then put it in the fridge to cool it all the way through.
When you’re ready to serve, run a table knife around the edge to help loosen the cooled flan. Then invert it onto your serving dish. Make sure you invert over your sink, you’ll be amazed at how much of that caramel melts away onto your serving dish and continues running down your arm and on the clean floors.