Hola mis amigos y amigas! I can’t believe I studied Spanish for seven years and that was nine years ago! Cinco de Mayo brings me back to my college days where margaritas and guacamole flowed like water. Today in a healthier mindset, I can only dream about living somewhere like the shores of the Riviera Maya or Spain. I’ve admired Spanish and Mexican culture for quit sometime, and well, who doesn't like the sun, sand and sea lifestyle, assuming one spends time at the coast. I swear I can taste the beach atmosphere…but for now, I must taste-test the goodness from the kitchen.
Flan has an interesting history that dates back to the Roman Era. The Romans had a surplus of eggs due to domesticating chickens and they used the Greek's knowledge of recipe development to concoct an egg dish called flan. The original flan was savory before it was sweet. Throughout the centuries and various cultural influences, each culture made their own version that followed the Roman concepts.
If you’ve ever tasted non-vegan flan, you know that the creamy custard-like texture is something that makes this dessert something special. I actually made this recipe a while ago, but decided to wait until Cinco de Mayo to post it.
Making vegan flan is much simpler than one thinks. However, to replicate the same texture and creaminess, as traditional flan is something that takes time, patience and many trials and errors.
I wanted to make a flan that is simple and does not use many ingredients. I find the simpler the recipe, the more likely people (and myself) will commit to trying the recipe. Also, I wanted to use a non-sugar based caramel that is sweetened only with natural sweeteners.
I made this recipe sweet enough to where the palate can still taste the hints of cinnamon. If you want this recipe to be sweeter, add in more maple syrup into the mixture.
Also, you can make a sugar-based caramel similar to the traditional flan. However, if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake, this is a great start!
For the storage of the flan, you can use the traditional ramekins. I used small IKEA bowls that holds a generous 1/2 cup of liquid. If you’d prefer to make a vegan flan cake by using a bigger bowl you can do that too. I’ve tried it several ways, and it all works out!
Working with agar agar can be difficult the first couple times. Be sure to follow the recipe usage of the agar agar so it molds the bowl. I’ve used coconut milk (from the can) and almond milk. I found the coconut milk to be creamier in texture, but feel free to use another nondairy milk. You can also reduce the amount of tofu to decrease it's firmness.
Have you made vegan flan? What are some secrets to make it creamier?
Vegan Flan topped with Date Caramel
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Makes 4-6 generous flans (depending on the size of your dishes)
2 cups coconut milk from the can (or almond milk)
2 tsp agar powder
1/2 cup silken tofu (firm will make this a firmer texture)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or more for a sweeter flavor)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 + 1/8 tsp cinnamon
1-2 batches of date caramel
Put the agar powder and milk into a pan and whisk until blended and let the powder dissolve. Place all the other ingredients into a blender. Turn on the stove's heat and bring the milk and agar powder mixture to a boil. Let it simmer between 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture will slightly thicken. Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for one minute just to emit heat.
Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. From here you can taste test the "milk" and see if you want additional sweetener added. Pour into ramekins or other small dishes, wrap and chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
While the flan chills, make the date caramel. Once chilled, you can use a butter knife to loosen the flan around the edges. Place the open side onto a plate and then lift the flan dish upward. It should remove easily. Smother the top with the date caramel.
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com