Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sweet Potato Coconut Flan

Adapted from a more traditional dairy recipe in Deborah Madison's Local Flavors. If you're feeling more ambitious, check out her recipe which is accompanied by sesame tuiles.

Sweet Potato Coconut Flan

Unsalted butter for the ramekins
1 can coconut milk (16 oz)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 vanilla bean
3/4 pound white-fleshed Japanese sweet potatoes
2 eggs
warm molasses to garnish, optional
toasted coconut flakes to garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly butter 6 ramekins. Bring the coconut milk, honey, and vanilla bean to a boil in a saucepan, then turn off the heat. Stir to make sure the honey is dissolved. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk and return the pod to the pan. Let stand for 15 minutes to let the flavor infuse.

Bake or steam the sweet potatoes. Scoop the flesh from the sweet potatoes and measure 3/4 cup. Puree with the eggs. It will have a somewhat sticky texture. Add the milk and process until well blended. You want a minimal amount of bubbles for a smooth custard.

Pour the liquid into the ramekins and set them in a large pan. Add boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until set but just a bit wobbly at the center, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven but leave the custards in the water bath until ready to serve.

Run a knife along the edge of the cups, then turn them out onto serving plates. Drizzle with warm molasses and toasted coconut flakes.

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