I woke up this morning, anxious to get back to Atlanta. I’ve been in DC for over one week and while I’ve been enjoying everything that comes with being with Mami and Papi (like eating my favorite food, lunch with papi in the city, sunny skies, sleeping in, cafecito con pan tostadito and watching all the telenovelas right before bedtime), there’s something about being in your own space.
But, I smelled fresh espresso all the way upstairs in the kitchen and I quickly jumped up for a sip. It’s so much tastier when it’s been done for you. I’m sure Mami feels the same way. As I sipped and kissed Mami on her forehead, I took quick inventory of what was on the kitchen counter and was suddenly inspired to make a flan. Admittedly, it’s been some serious time since I’ve made a new flan for the #FlanFridays feature; and not that I’m making excuses, but fall season takes a toll on me in so many different ways. The kind of commitment it takes to make a new flan each week can be a bit cumbersome.
Not always, but sometimes. Especially when my travel schedule beckons me here and there, a lot of times unplanned. Having a free moment like this morning was perfect for playing around and conjuring up a new flavor. It had to be strong enough to make up for the absence, ya know.
After my quick scan, I had an urge for cheese. I’ve cut most diary out of my diet but a button of cheese was staring right at me and I simply couldn’t pass it up. Pre-sized servings make complete sense to me and facilitate quantity control of those very things I’m continuing to keep from my daily eating.
I don’t miss cheese all that much, but simple, creamy varieties like goat, makes me want to incorporate it into food so that I can experience its goodness other just nibbling it.
Adding it to my basic flan custard seemed easy enough. I recently had flan de queso while in Miami, but have never really been crazy about it. Normally, a cheese flan is made with cream cheese, bearing a similar consistency to goat. If cream cheese works in flan, I assumed goat would work. And better.
I started out with one medallion, tasted it, and decided 1 oz. would be enough. The flavor was intense enough to make its presence, but soft enough to not interfere with the core flavor. The only thing left to imagination was how the brandy reduction was going to pair with it.
I made a lovely reduction for Thanksgiving which I poured over my dad’s lamb shank. It was delicate and robust at the same time. And, since goat cheese and sauces or spreads are a common entremet, I knew that at least, with an egg custard, it had the potential of shooting off some serious sparks in mami’s kitchen.
I tasted the flan first and was satisfied, barring temperature. I hadn’t given it enough time to cook only because of time restraints. Papi tried it and thought, eh, it needed more a of a goat cheese taste. Sis tasted it and begged me to make her plain flan. I take no insult in that, knowing she’s the personifies Plain Jane and likes staple food in its purist form. I’ve not brought her over like I have my dad and mom. I tasted again and agreed it could use perhaps another 1/2 ounce, but not a full medallion.
Getting really excited about the combination of my brandy reduction with the existing caramel sauce, I slowly dipped a small custard bite into a bit of brandy. Exciting. It worked.It worked very well, in fact!
Rich, smooth, creamy and fancy.
The trick is use it conservatively. I made this reduction with raw sugar and apple cranberry juice so it’s naturally sweet. Too much will make a healthy slice too heavy and take away from the lovely cheesy notes in the custard. It’s simply there to compliment the cheese.
In this case, a little goes a long way.
As for the final consensus on a goat cheese flan with brandy reduction sauce… It’s being added it to my repertoire and offering it up to my clients. There’s no doubt, however, it will only be made for special occasions when it comes to enjoying one for myself or for the fam. It’s that fancy.
Of course, skipping out on the reduction sauce is completely acceptable, but why would you do that!
Goat Cheese Flan w/Brandy Reduction Sauce
For Brandy Reduction
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup French Brandy
- 3/4 cup apple cranberry juice
- juice from 2 lemons
- pinch of salt
In small or medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to boil. Reduce heat immediately and cook sauce on low, stirring constantly until mixture becomes thick and syrup like. Sauce is ready when reduced to half its original quantity.
* this recipe for reduction will yield enough for up to 4 flans or for use in other foods.
For Flan Custard
- 3 eggs
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- 14 oz. 2% milk
- 1-1.5 oz. goat cheese
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp. sugar
Melt goat cheese in a double boiler. Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add and combine sweetened condensed & 2% milk, melted cheese and extract. Set aside. Add sugar to an 8" to flan mold 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 coat entire flan mold, covering all sides, using circular motion (I suggest using a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel).
Add 3 cups of water to a 4 or 6 qt. pressure cooker. Gently place flan mold 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 10 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. Pour 3 tablespoons of brandy reduction sauce over flan as a whole or 2 teaspoons over one single slice.