Apricot and passion fruit flan de queso with spiced roasted pears
This is a take on a Mexican dessert call flan de Queso which is a cross between a crème Brule and a crème caramel with the addition of cream cheese and whole eggs rather than egg yolks alone, it is a little lighter in texture. This version uses dried apricots and a little honey for the sweetness instead of sugar and the flans are served in the ramekins instead of turning them out onto a plate.
Yield (makes) 4 – 6 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the flan
½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
4 ounces (120 g) full fat cream cheese
2 free range eggs
8 large moist dried apricots
1 tablespoon honey (or equivalent of your favorite low calorie sweetener)
One passion fruit
2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the roasted pears
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150c
2. Place the milk and dried apricots into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and lave to rest for 20 minutes to let the apricots soak up some moisture and become plump.
3. Prepare the passion fruit by scraping out the seeds into a sieve above a bowl, use a ,metal spoon to scrape the seeds against the sieve to remove as much of the juice as possible, discard the seeds and add the juice to the mixture.
4. Place all of the ingredients for the flan into a blender and blitz on full speed for 2 minutes until all of the ingredients are well combined and smooth, pass this mixture through a sieve into a jug and then use this to fill 4 ramekins (or 6 ramekins if you want smaller portions)
5. Place the ramekins into a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot but not boiling water to come halfway up their outsides. (This is called a bain-marie or water bath)
6. Place the bain-marie onto the center shelf of the oven being careful not to spill any water into the ramekins which will ruin the flans (a tip to make life easier is to place the baking dish with the ramekins halfway into the oven before adding the water to the dish)
7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the custards are just set but still a bit wobbly in the middle. Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Chill until needed for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight
8. When you are ready to serve the flans, prepare the roasted pears. Peel, core and slice the pears and place onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the pears with the ground ginger and cinnamon and add the butter. Place into a preheated oven at 350F/180c for approximately 20 minutes until the pears are soft and the edges are turning golden brown and caramelized.
9. Spoon the roasted pears on top of the flans and serve
Try garnishing the flans with some chopped roasted hazelnuts and a sprig of fresh mint!