‘Tis that time when I must go to my roots and share with you know what I know so well. The Flan. The almighty crème caramel purposed with tantalizing you and eliciting feelings of edible seduction. It’s been revered as the IT dessert… or at least was being positioned that way in late 2013. Only it didn’t really happen the way it was forecasted. I’m not sure what happened. I’m not sure why it failed to make the hail the cache it deserves. I’ m imagining the cult following it can have. It’s a sexy custard. It’s decadent. And dainty.
And so while the masses haven’t taken it on and the food gods or magazine editors whom dictate what’s haute and not in cuisine, I’ll continue on this journey to make and expose the glorious rays of flans – and pressure cookers and Cuban espresso – a beloved option when making or ordering dessert.
I barely hyped my flans up last year. I didn’t stop making them for my family or begging clients. I did, however, allow my creative whisk rest a bit from developing new recipes. I didn’t tap out, per se, but was forcing combinations instead of allowing them to merge effortlessly.
For my first flan of 2015, I thought I’d go light and fluffy, calming but aromatic. Chamomile marries ever so gingerly with anise, a very typical and commonplace seed in our house. I wanted to put these together because of how often we use them and how beneficial they are individually. I’ll write a separate post on their benefits and vast uses, but for now, let’s dive into this luscious, creamy, flavorful flan that just might calm your excited nerves into a sedated bliss.
You won’t know what hit you.
Plus, it’s just pretty.
And like 90% of my flans, I made this one in the pressure cooker. Because who really has time to wait around for 90 minutes (plus cooling time) to bite into this amazingness!
The richness of the custard contrasted with the delicate but powerful properties of the herbs and seeds makes for a wildly (no pun intended) perfect dessert.
Study this. Make it. Enjoy it. Share it.
Chamomile & Star Anise Flan
- 6 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 whole eggs, whisked
- 1- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 14 oz whole milk
- 1/2 cup chamomile and anise tea
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. anise extract
- dried chamomile and star anise for garnish
Make herbal tea: Combine 2 tablespoons of chamomile and 4 whole star anise and add to muslin bag. To medium saucepan, add 1/2 cup of water and bring to light boil (almost par). Remove from heat when done. Drop in muslin bag with tea mix in lightly boiled water and let steep for 5-10 minutes until flavor is intense but not acidic. Strain and set tea aside.
Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add and combine sweetened condensed and regular milk, 1/4 cup herbal tea, and both extracts. Set aside.
Add sugar to the aluminum flan mold and bring to medium-high heat. Allow all of the sugar to melt down until golden caramel, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar to burn. When sugar is fully dissolved into caramel, carefully coat the bottom and sides of the flan mold using hand towels to hold the mold. Use a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel. Let sit for two minutes until sugar sets. Pour flan mixture into pan using a medium mesh hand strainer.
Add 2 cups of water to a 4 or 6 qt. pressure cooker. Gently place flan mold in center of cooker and close lid. Place jiggler on lid. If your pressure cooker jiggler has different PSI settings, set it to 10. Cook on high for 11 minutes, or until pressure cooker starts hissing. Turn off heat and allow all of the pressure to release itself, or for another 5 minutes.
Remove from pressure cooker after all pressure is released. Refrigerate for 8-9 hours or overnight for best taste. Remove from refrigeration 30-45 minutes before serving to loosen some. To serve, using a butter knife, loosen the sides of the flan all the way around. Take a large plate, place upside down on top of flan and flip! Be careful not to waste any of the caramel sauce. Pour a bit of tea if desired. Garnish with loose chamomile and anise.