With 11 backyard hens that leave my family with nearly a dozen eggs a day, we have been making the best of our seasonal harvest. From simple, crustless quiche's, tortilla española, and even the yolks, eaten raw with a drizzle of honey... yes, the abundance of eggs have been a treasure in my home. Although all of these things are good, nothing quite compares to a silky, creamy, and gently sweetened flan made rich and creamy with the seasons freshest eggs and dairy.
Flan is traditional custard, which can be made in a variety of ways. In Spain, where my family is from, it's made simple, using just a few ingredients to let the flavors in its purest essence, shine. In this season when the pastures are vibrant and overflowing with every good grass and weed, it's to no surprise that a good flan is far richer and creamier than if made during any other part of the year.
A flan is traditionally made with a caramelized topping. Usually, I'll make simple syrup made with coconut palm sugar or rapadura. However, now that strawberries are coming into season and my children have been patiently waiting for the season’s first berries, I couldn't help but make my own strawberry topping sweetened with a touch of local honey. To complement the gently sweetened strawberry topping, I made the custard cream heavy since our dairies have been in full production mode as well. The custard is delightfully sweetened with pure maple syrup from my father's backyard tree. It's much richer than the grade A syrup I usually purchase. It has a more intense flavor of maple and gives the flan delightful caramel undertones. To brighten the custard, I added some lemon zest garnished the flan with fresh whipped cream and a bit of fresh mint that has just begun to emerge in my gardens.
This nourishing treat made with the season’s finest ingredients serves my family just as well for breakfast.
For the Topping
- 1 cup strawberries mashed
- ¼ cup honey
For the Custard
- 1 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup Grade A dark maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest finely grated
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring the strawberries and honey to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, constantly, until it reduces and thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. The natural pectin in the strawberries will give the syrup a thickened jam consistency once cooled.
- Once the strawberries have been cooked down, place about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons to the bottom of each flan mold.
- Heat the oven to 300F.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, over medium-high heat bring the milk, cream, and vanilla extract just to a boil. While the milk and cream are coming to a boil, In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Once the milk has just come to a boil, turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the hot milk into the egg mixture in the bowl.
- Once the ingredients have been whisked together, pour the custard into the flan molds.
- Put the individual molds into a baking dish or roasting pan. Using the bain-marie method (water-bath) pour in enough hot water into the baking dish or roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the molds. Bake for 50 minutes at 300F or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the individual molds from the baking dish or roasting pan and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight before serving. Turn onto a dish and serve garnished with fresh whipped cream and mint.