Posted on | November 24, 2008 | 30 Comments |
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but that is definitely not for the food. I just don’t get the fuss about turkey, it’s gotta be the most tasteless meat around in my opinion. I am sure there are others who will agree with me, if that’s not the case why don’t they serve turkey at any of the fine restaurants? We normally get out of town during thanksgiving, so I haven’t made many traditional thanksgiving dinners, but the few times I have, I always substituted turkey with chicken or Cornish game hen. I might even go for a whole roasted duck in the future, but I don’t see myself cooking turkey anytime soon.
Aside from the turkey, I do like some of the traditional thanksgiving sides and desserts, especially the ones with sweet potato. Sweet potatoes or even potatoes were not part of the original thanksgiving feast, but neither were pumpkin pies. These have become integral to the new world thanksgiving meal though. If you want a change from the traditional pumpkin pies for this year’s feast, here is a nice and easy dessert still well within the thanksgiving theme. Sweet potatoes gives a bit more texture to the traditional flan while still keeping it silky and soft. This is a crowd pleaser for sure, and is much lighter than a pie.
All credit for this goes to Emeril. I followed his Sweet Potato Flan with Chocolate Spider’s Web recipe from Food network, omitting the spider’s web which we didn’t miss at all. I made this for a dinner party, where I didn’t get time to click any pictures. This photo was taken after a day, so the flan absorbed most of the caramel sauce. Flan looked much better the first day, when there was a clear separation between the orange flan and the dark brown caramel layers.
- 1 large orange fleshed sweet potato/yam (about 1lb)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 6 tbsp fine sugar
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 5 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Make Caramel sauce – Add 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer till the water evaporates. Sugar crystallizes first and then starts melting. Keep stirring till it becomes an amber brown liquid. Remove from stove and add some table spoons of boiling hot water, so that it doesn’t thicken too much and turn into sugar candy sheets. This whole process will take about 15-20 minutes. Pour the caramel sauce into one large 10 cup souffle dish or in individual ramekins. I used two smaller spring foam pans since I didn’t have a large enough dish. Tilt the dishes to coat the bottom and a little bit of the sides with the caramel sauce.
Prepare sweet potato puree – Preheat oven to 450F. Scrub the yam and place it on an oven rack and bake for 35-45 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely. Remove the skin and cut into chunks and place in a food processor. Add 1 cup of half-and-half while the machine is running and process to form a smooth paste.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, 1-cup of half-and-half, condensed milk, water, vanilla extract and maple syrup and mix well. In another bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks until frothy. Strain the eggs into the ingredients in the first bowl.
Add the sweet potato puree and whisk well and pour into the prepared pan with the caramel sauce.
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Place the dish in a large baking pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 1hr 45 minutes at 300F or until the flan is set but still soft. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Before serving, run a knife through the edges and invert into a serving dish. Cut into wedges and serve with the caramel sauce spooned over.
Note: You can replace the sweet potato puree with pumpkin puree to make a pumpkin flan.
Also, check out my pistachio flan recipe.
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