It’s #FLANFRIDAYS friends! Woo hoo. I’ve been so anxious to bring you this one.
Are you ready for this? Are you really ready for the most enticing and most expensive flan ever?!?!
Just two lovely and chilly weekends ago, I was hob-knobbing with chefs from all over the country during the National Truffle Fest held in Asheveille, N.C. The 3-day experience was replete with 25 pounds of truffles, or trufas grown in Tennessee and North Carolina. 25 pounds of the world’s most expense mushroom means only one thing: a very pricey weekend consisting of truffle breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners and desserts!
And every one of them extra decadent, rich, fragrant and lovely.
I can’t even begin to tell you how enriching, educational and not to mention aromatically wonderful my time spent was, at least not until I do a full recap of the fest! I will tease and let you know I met and danced with American “Truffle Tzar”, Franklin Garland, got to interview the owner of Spain’s largest truffle orchard (a very wealthy and unpretentious gentleman), slathered truffle butter on everything I ate, enjoyed the 2nd best dessert ever in my life and….. wait for it…..
Was gifted 5 fresh truffles! At $1000 per pound this season, that means I was walking around with close to 10 oz. of utter richness and delicacy in the form of a rugged ugly-looking ball. Fortunate for me, I made quick acquaintance with the Executive chef of Red Stag, the host restaurant of the festivities. This young gun was sweet enough to take me into his kitchen and secret hiding place and showed me his stash of 5lbs.—which each participating restaurant received courtesy of the Tzar.
(Tray of frozen truffles being thawed out at Red Stag)
My 2 guests and I ate so well and walked away with an elevated appreciation for the business of cultivating truffles in the U.S., that I was inspired to make anything and everything I could with the “black diamonds” I was given.
Naturally, flan came to mind! Of course I had to play around with my trufas and make my first savory flan. IT was a damn hit! I did all kinds of happy dances in my kitchen and went it came to take pictures, I got gritty with it. I went outside, laid on the mulch-y ground and snapped away. It was a very unsexy way of capturing the image, but it’s all about perspective and styling. I wanted my picture to reflect oneness with the earth!
On the flavor — a super explosive flavor bomb my friends! The creaminess and sweetness was still there, but this one had a more pungent and distinct taste and was very aromatic–more than the pumpkin spice one which, of all my tried and true flavors, releases the most fragrance of the spices. I wasn’t so surprised this was as phenomenal as it was though, since I had a few creamy postres during the festival’s Gala, which ended the events, and were my inspiration for today’s version.
However, I’ve worked very little with fresh truffles, so I stepped into this very cautiously, making sure I didn’t disrespect the gem or do it any disservice; let alone go to waste. Who knows when I’ll get my hands on locally grown truffles again! I’d have to sell about 3 pair of my most expensive shoes just to buy at wholesale.
Of due note: I don’t own a truffle shaver. Have to change that asap since I anticipate buying more of these while their in season. So, I used my microplane to zest hints of it into the custard (a little will take you a long way). I then sliced a few slithers as thin as possible to place on the plate for sensory purposes. Tasting it wasn’t enough. I wanted to get a good whiff of the fungus as I got ready to attach it.
Finally, an important cooking note if you’ve been following #FlanFridays and have tried making your own in the pressure cooker. For this one, I went the traditional route and did a baño Maria instead of using the pressure cooker simply because I wanted to give the truffle shavings a bit more time to infuse into the custard. 45 minutes accomplished that far better than a quick-fire 8 minutes (for two-6 oz. ramekins). If I try it in the pressure cooker, I’ll let you know how it goes and do a comparison.
Since this post has been a teaser of sorts, I’ll reserve pictures of the sliced flan for the next installment of my truffles desserts…perhaps another truffle flan infused with a complementary ingredient will occupy this space soon. I will show you, though.
In the meantime, please enjoy, lust, gasp, faint, drool over my newest flavor in the world of my flans! I’m too excited for words to have finally stepped outside of my sweet box and tried something savory. And what sexier way to try it than with truffles!
*if you have specific questions about this flan, please feel free to comment or email me at bren at flanboyanteats dot com.