Since I’m a kid, I’m obsessed with flan. It is one of those desserts I’m sure I’d not be able to stop eating. That’s why I like to have them once in a very long while. It’s more of a treat rather than something habitual.
Not long ago, I baked a horrible loaf of bread. It was probably the worst loaf I’ve ever baked, and I’ve done many! To not waste it, I decided to make bread pudding with it, but I only had almond milk available. I felt adventurous, so I decided to give it a go. I soaked the chunks of my loaf in that almond milk and then prepared a custard with the liquid that the bread had not absorbed. In the end, my custard did set beautifully, and the flavor was incredible. So I thought: this ought to be a great way of making non-dairy flan! That’s how this recipe came to be.
One characteristic of almond milk is that it tastes significantly different from dairy, so if we want such a confection to work flavorwise, we need to build its flavor profile. I used Meyer lemon zest as a base, and since my almond milk is not the “unsweetened version,” I didn’t use as much sugar as I would have for a regular flan. Then I found the combination of cardamom and cinnamon as garnish gave the flan a lovely flavor component without being overly sweet.
I use the same techniques as a regular flan for this preparation, and it works well. Here is the recipe.
Almond Milk Flan
- 5 tsp of cane sugar, two for the caramel and three for the custard.
- 1 large egg (I also added one egg yolk, but I feel it can be avoided)
- ½ tsp zest of Meyer lemon.
- 1 tiny pinch of salt.
- 1 Cup of vanilla-flavored almond milk.
- ¼ tsp cardamom & ½ tsp cinnamon.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF or 180ºC
- In a small saucepan, melt 2 tsp of sugar into caramel, making sure not to scorch it as it will develop an unpleasant flavor. Once it’s pourable, pour it to coat the bottom of the container where you’ll bake the flan. I used a glass microwaveable food container. Place the container in your freezer while you prepare the custard.
- In a small saucepan, warm up the almond milk to about 165ºF, or 73ºC. Make sure it doesn’t go too much over that, or it will cook your egg.
- While the milk is heating, In a bowl, combine and whisk the egg and yolk (if using) with 3 tsp of sugar, salt, and lemon zest.
- Temper your egg batter by whisking in vigorously ¼ of your almond milk first, then slowly incorporate the rest of the almond milk. It’s crucial to get this step right. Otherwise, you can potentially end up with sweet scrambled eggs.
- Pour your batter into the container with the caramel.
- Prepare your bain-marie: Fill out a larger saucepan, pot, or tray with enough water so your flan container is submerged 80%. Bring the water almost to a boil. Then place your flan in. Transfer everything into the oven right away.
- Bake for about 50 minutes or until the custard is set. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Plating: Run a pairing knife through the edge of your container and un-mold the flan into a serving plate. Garnish with cardamom and cinnamon.