Salty coconut flan with tequila granita
( SERVES 4 )
Flan is the Mexican version of creme caramel — a baked custard topped with dark caramel. This is a dairy-free version using coconut cream.
Unlike dairy cream, coconut cream is far from consistent. Many are full of stabilisers and have a dull slimy taste, so it’s worth paying attention and getting a nice one. I like the Kara brand because it is rich, naturally sweet and tastes like coconut. Ayam is another great option.
Whichever one you get, make sure you stir it well first and if it’s too thick to pour easily, dilute it with a little bit of water or coconut water until it’s more like the consistency of normal cream. Also, pay attention to the label — coconut milk is a thinner product and doesn’t give the same result.
I have added salt to the creme caramel, to tie in with the tequila and lime granita which is a little bit salty — like a dessert version of shots with salt and lime. Granita is simply frozen liquid scraped with a fork to make yummy snow; this one uses lime and lemon with some sugar and tequila.
Flour tortillas sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon add crunch. Get them nice and brown and crispy using hot oil. You can make the flans and granita the day before so all you need to do to is fry the tortillas just before serving.
|¼ cup||Caster sugar, for caramel, + 2 tsp|
|1¼ cups||Coconut cream|
|2 tsp||Caster sugar|
|½ tsp||Vanilla essence|
- Prepare the granita the day before so it can freeze hard. Place the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat and stir in lemon and lime juice. Allow to cool then add tequila and place in a shallow dish in the freezer overnight.
- To make the flan, heat oven to 150C, boil a kettle of water and grease 4 ramekins with butter, placing them into a small but deep baking dish.
- To make caramel, place . cup caster sugar in a small clean pot and heat on high until the sugar melts. Keep a close eye on it and tilt the pot around to help all the sugar dissolve. It’s best not to stir as this could cause it to crystallise (start again if this happens). It can get too dark very quickly so as soon as it is a nice rich colour remove from the heat and pour evenly into ramekins.
- Using a hand-held beater, beat the coconut cream, eggs, salt, 2 tsp sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Strain, then pour on top of the caramel so each ramekin has about 20-25mm deep custard in it. Pour boiling water into the baking dish so the ramekins have water to the depth of the custard, then bake for 45 minutes or until the custard is just set. Remove from the oven and tray, allow to cool then chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
- To serve, heat the frying oil nice and hot (180C) then cook the flour tortillas in it until brown and crispy, turning them over halfway through. Drain on a paper towel, sprinkling with sugar and cinnamon while hot and cutting into pieces.
- Place the custard ramekins in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds to soften the caramel, then use a blunt knife to run around the edge, loosening their grip. Tip upside down on to a cold plate, pouring the caramel on top. Use a knife to help free them if they won’t tip out easily.
- Remove the granita from the freezer and use a fork to scrape into icy heaps, quickly placing a mound on each plate while it’s cold. Finish with cinnamon tortilla wedges.