Rosemary or Thyme-Infused Flan

200px-Homemade_FlanBy Cat, Jan 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Crème caramel, or flan, is a wonderful custard dessert with a caramel sauce.  Caramel is sugar melted and cooked until it begins to turn golden, and then stirred with cream; in this case, the cream is provided by the custard.

In this recipe, the herbs are infused into the hot milk/cream used in the custard. This same method can also be used for regular baked custard.

Rosemary or Thyme-Infused Flan

This idea comes from an October 2007 article in my local newspaper, the Daily InterLake, who picked it up from the Los Angeles Times. It is just an example of how you can provide different flavors to the dessert using fresh or dried herbs/spices.

The following quote is from the newspaper article, by Betty Hallock and Donna Deane, that accompanied the recipe.

“Like lemon zest or ginger used in baking, rosemary and thyme focus the elements in fruit that aren’t sweet while tempering the sugars.  But the two herbs add their own pungent, piney nuances.

For a creamy, luxurious custard, bruised sprigs of the herbs (with leaves and stems) are infused in milk [or a milk] and cream mixture for one hour. [In this case, the rosemary oils can overpower the thyme], so use more thyme than rosemary in the recipe.”

To make this version, use either my Crème Caramel or Rich Flan recipes, or one of your own, with the following changes: before mixing the milk/cream with the eggs to form the custard, infuse it with oils from the herbs, following instructions below.

Additional Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 fresh 5 – 6″ long sprigs rosemary, or a small handful of thyme sprigs (larger custard will require more herb than smaller custard)

Method for Using Herb-Infused Milk/Cream:

  1. Caramelize sugar, pour into and line baking dish, then allow caramel to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bruise 2 – 3 fresh 5-6″ long sprigs rosemary, or a small handful of thyme sprigs with a mallet or using a mortar and pestle.
  3. Combine milk/cream, sweetener and bruised herbs in a medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat; then remove from the heat; cover and let the infused milk steep for 1 hour.  Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, then squeeze out any remaining liquid from the herbs before discarding them.
  4. Proceed with custard recipe of your choice, using the infused milk/cream.

See also  Crème Caramel or Flan (About) for more.

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