Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Answer: Carrot Flan

I usually don't include recipes on Cuisine Quotidienne, but this one -- the object of last weekend's guessing game -- is such a jewel that I will share its simple formula.

I cut Flans de carottes out of a very old (circa 1990) issue of Guide Cuisine, back when I had time to religiously buy several monthly cooking magazines AND cut out the most interesting recipes AND put them on little file cards AND actually try them out.

Over the years, I've used the same recipe with zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms and about any other vegetable that can be mashed or puréed. It is a great starter, side dish, or even light main dish. The best thing about it, though, is its mind-boggling simplicity. Try it out!

For 4 flans:

1. Steam or otherwise cook 250 grams/half a pound of carrots or the vegetable of your choice until quite soft.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F

3. Mash or blend the vegetables, then mix them together with:
- 2 eggs
- Half a cup/150 cl of crème fraîche, liquid cream or half and half ("any cream will do" -- and I challenge anyone to find my play on words here!)
-Salt, pepper
The original recipe calls for nothing more, but I often add a spice or some fresh herbs.
You can blend the ingredients for a very fine consistency or just mash and stir for a grainier flan as in my photo.

4. Pour into 4 well-greased ramekins or other individual container -- you may end up with 6 or more servings depending on the size of your recipient.

5. Bake in a bain-marie for about 20 minutes or until set.

To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the ramekin and empty the flan onto the serving plate, or serve directly in the recipient. For even more simplicity, the recipe can be made in one larger recipient, but the cooking time will of course increase.

The possibilities for this basic formula are endless. My favorite version uses zucchini and a teaspoon of fennel seeds. If you invent a new version, please tell me about it!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Carrot flan! The possibilities seem endless and it does sound right easy to put together. Definitely something to play around with!

Mimi said...

I like it, but I have no bain marie - I'll have to contrive one.

Betty C. said...

Mimi, I don't even know what a bain-marie looks like! French recipes call for cooking things "en bain-marie" and I think they are most often contrived, as you said. For these flans, I put them in a lasagne pan and then filled it about three quarters full with boiling water. When I make oeufs au lait, I make them in a small soufflé dish and nestle it in a bigger one, also filled about three quarters full with boiling water. Don't sweat the small stuff!

Christine said...

This looks wonderful! I'm saving the recipe right now.

christina said...

I made this last night with carrots and it was lovely. I'm keen to try it with other vegetable as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

(And in answer to your question in a blog comment you left me: Yes, Germany is not a very child-friendly country - very low birth rate due to difficulty in getting adequate and qualified child care and very poor education system - they are trying to pay people to have more children!)

Betty C. said...

Christina, I'm glad you tried the recipe and liked it! I was amazed when I first started hearing about the problems with sexism in Germany. There was a major Time Magazine article about it. I always thought of Germany as such a progressive place.

Katie said...

I make something similar but with a bit of Gruyere.
I love doing them with spinach and courgette as well, but, as you suggest, the possibilites are endless. (I use a bread pan)
Yours looks lovely!

Betty C. said...

Yes, a bread-pan would give it a nice "terrine"-like aspect.