The Royal Wedding just occurred a few hours ago. I woke up and watched the entire madness, which I thoroughly enjoyed and tweeted like no other event. If you watched it, then you know it was all the pomp and circumstance expected from the Queen’s land. Even with a “commoner” now bearing the title “Princess,” (or she a Duchess first?) the ceremony was beautifully and flawlessly executed.
It was the quintessential picture of old world traditions. The kiss, however boring, was right on point with Will & Kate’s seemingly coy and private personas. 10 years of dating would yield endless media but somehow they’ve managed to keep papparazzi away until last November when they announced their engagement. Since then, everything they’ve done has been documented and even slightly scrutinized.
Why all this wedding chatter on #FlanFridays? Well, because it’s been a few weeks since I’ve presented you lovely readers with a new flavor, it was only appropriate that I bring it back with a regal combination of style, flavor and tradicion!
Naturally, and with timing on my side, today’s flan is inspired the by century long traditions and culture of the British. The Brits are known for their devoted tea times, sipping on designer brands with their pinky’s gracefully tucked behind fancy and intricately designed tea cups; eating biscotti and scones while chatting about who knows what and my favorite, donning fabulous hats to just about any soirée.
The elaborate and way over-the-top spectacle caused me to think about my own practices and traditions as a Latina, specifically a cubana. I quickly pondered, half asleep, what would be considered our biggest ceremony garnering all the public attention in the world. Other than Fidel Castro being announced dead, I can’t really think of any. Not because we don’t celebrate huge occasions in flamboyant manner (because if you know a real cuban, you know we do it big!), rather because we party for any and every announcement or desaroyo. And, each one those celebrations is just as significant as the other. We celebrate our culture every way and when ever possible. It could be in the way of a morning café con leche visit from our neighbor. Kinda like afternoon tea time, only not as fancy or highly classified.
Royal or not, that’s pretty much a testament to how I live my life as a Latina.
Back to my flan. In keeping with traditions and things that help define us as a people, I thought an Earl Grey flan was the most obvious choice for this revered moment. To fancy it it up a bit, I added a dash of fresh thyme and a slither of fresh squeezed lemon juice. The idea was to interpret a cup of an English breakfast tea that most of that country enjoys into a traditional Latin custard that is enjoyable, refreshing and light enough for a breezy day.
Smart, right?! I’m in love with it, especially since I put extra good loving in it at 2 am!
Aromatic and sweet with a lightness from the infused tea and great touch of savory herbs made this flan a top notch option for the tea party I’m going to host on Sunday!
I’ll serve up the traditional English cookies and biscuits, but having flan is necessary to properly highlight and continue the emphasis of my love affair with desserts, especially Latin desserts. Flan particularly resonates with me because of the role it played in my family as a child (mami made two: one for papi and the other to be divided among the 5 of us). However, but not for my use of the pressure cooker, I’d probably not make it as often. This is when I thank my mami for teaching me all the ins and outs of being in a Cuban kitchen, what to use, what not to use, how to pair ingredients, how to fix mistakes and ultimately how to be a great hostess.
So, while I’m not a commoner even on Kate’s former level, let alone royalty in the British sense of the word, I am full of wealth in traditions, customs, history, cultura and family! And, am proud of where I come from. In fact, I thought it was fantastic and quite modest when the officiating Reverend today said “Every wedding is like a royal wedding,” suggesting that the royal qualifiers are exhibited in the act of sealing a loved relationship through vows witnessed and celebrated with your loved ones.
And for me, that’s what counts the most — celebrating your own sense of royalty with family.
All that being said, I’m happy to share that for the next few months, I’ll be chatting up what being Latina Smart is all about in my world and how it deliciously impacts my work in and out of Flanboyant Eats. I’ll dive a bit more into why it’s important I maintain and carry on the flavorful traditions and culture my phenom parents have instilled in this chica!
Kate is smart, but can the pretty lady cook!!
EARL GREY & THYME FLAN
- 2 eggs
- 10 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Earl Grey tea, brewed and chilled
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1 splash vanilla extract
- 3 sprigs of fresh Thyme, parted
- juice from 1/4 lemon wedge
Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add and combine sweetened condensed and regular milk, Earl Grey tea, vanilla, lemon juice and leaves from 2 thyme sprigs. Set aside. Add sugar to an 8" non-stick skillet and caramelize on medium-high heat until it is golden color, stirring constantly. Make sure not to burn sugar. When sugar is fully melted down, carefully pour into each ramekin, coating the entire sides (I suggest using a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel). Add mixture to each ramekin and cover with aluminum foil.
Add 2 cups of water to a 4 or 6 qt. pressure cooker. Gently place ramekins in 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 6 minutes, or until pressure cooker starts hissing. Turn off heat and allow all of the pressure to release itself, or for another 2 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 flan, loosen the sides of the ramekins all the way around using a butter knife. Take a dessert plate, place upside down on top of flan and flip. Be careful not to waste any of the caramel sauce. Garnish with thyme sprigs or dried tea leaves.