My love for flan, crème brulee, caramel pudding – whatever you call it- dates all the way back to my childhood. It was one of those treats we kids devoured no matter what else was around. Those days, I grew up eating the version made with tons of whole eggs, condensed milk and sugar. Using all those eggs and condensed milk results in a delicious “pudding” that is firmer and “sliceable”. Growing up, I remember my mom making this caramel pudding and slicing it up to serve. It had the decadence of a crème brulee with the satisfaction of relishing on a slice of cake. Mmmmm….
These days, since I am trying to cut down on carbs, especially sugar, I wanted to attempt a recipe that was not so calorific, yet satisfies the sweet tooth. I know I can NEVER give up on desserts. That to me is like depriving myself of oxygen – ok maybe not that desperate but close enough. Only thing that seems to work for me is finding lower calorie substitutes in my recipes. With that in mind, I attempted a flan recipe with low fat milk, lite coconut milk and some splenda. Since a light caramel sauce is a “must” for a good flan, I took the traditional route with regular refined sugar but reduced the overall amount of sauce.
Lastly, instead of the traditional vanilla flavor, I opted for coconut pineapple combination for a tropical flair – to go with the balmy 50F in the middle of winter!
The resulting flan, crème brulee or caramel pudding – again whatever you want to call it- was velvety smooth, light and had a nice tropical flavor. Just what I was looking for!
1/2 cup 1% or skim milk
7 oz unsweetened coconut milk, preferably the lite version
1/3 cup granulated Splenda
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons crushed pineapple, drained
For caramel glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare caramel by heating the sugar and water till sugar starts to caramelize. Make sure you don’t scorch the sugar.
3. Transfer the cooked caramel to a 6″ baking pan and sprinkle with crushed pineapple. Set aside.
4. Simmer 1% milk and coconut milk till tiny bubbles start forming around the edges. Do not boil. Add the rum extract.
5. Beat the yolks and whole egg lightly. Slowly add the milk to temper the eggs, being careful to add the milk in a steady stream while continuously stirring the egg mixture.
6. Add Splenda to the egg-milk mixture and stir to dissolve.
7. Strain the mixture to remove any bits of solids and transfer the strained liquid to the prepared dish.
8. Place a wet kitchen towel in a large pan (13″x9″). Place the 6″ pan with the flan mixture on the towel and place in the preheated oven.
9. Slowly pour boiling water into the larger container, carefully avoiding the flan mixture.
10. Bake for about 45 minutes till the top looks set.
11. Once cooled to room temperature, carefully run a thin knife or spatula around the edges and invert the flan onto a plate.
12. Chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.