Thursday, July 22, 2010

Living the "Coconut Island" dream

Ah, Coconut Flans. I especially like food when it gives the impression of coming from a Chef's kitchen, when in reality it is more from a canned one. In these small heat-island igloos, only four ingredents are used, but you'll have to wait a couple of lines before knowing which (considering you read the name, you can guess one). 

My house releases surprises whenever I look in a corner.

Last Sunday, I was invited to my first Plancha at a friend's place. Plancha is an alternative to barbecue, or rather its high-end version. The principle is very simple: you take a thick metal plate, you heat with gas from below, wait a minute until hot and discard meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables or anything else on. No need to wait for ages to heat up, add any fat (except for a drizzle of olive oil of course) or wait with potato chips and peanuts. Everything is cooked in a blink, and you can enjoy your fresh and tasty food as it is. Marinated shrimp skewers and tuna steak is a must, especially when the ultra-fresh tuna is left raw inside and topped with salt flakes. Now that I've made you drool over this (and perhaps made you consider buying a plancha), I will go back to my little Flan. 

Can dirty dishes turn appealing?

What is inside is too shameful to say out loud, but I'll break the rule, because you have to try it. It will you take 5 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook so don't tell me that it's out of reach! 

These Flans are so soft and tender and melt in the mouth and yet, they hold well. I've baked them in individual molds simply because I did not have a large square one that would allow me to cut out cute cubes. If you have one, you can to choose either one. It will not alter their texture. They are sweet, of course, but without excess and would only be better with a fruit or chocolate sauce (oh, I should have thought about this before!). 

Now these little holes make me think of cheese…

So, here we go. Here are the ingredients for a dozen individual desserts or a large mould for 6 servings : 
40cl coconut milk (or a tin) 
40cl condensed milk (or a tin) 
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk 
desiccated coconut to decorate. 

Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

In a bowl, beat the egg and add gradually, while continuing to stir, coconut milk and condensed milk. 
When all is smooth and homogeneous, pour the preparation into individual molds or a dish of 25x25cm. What is essential to remember is that they must cook in a bain-marie in the oven. For that, take a larger mould and fill it with hot water, so as to immerse the smaller mould(s) to three quarters. You don't want water to mix with the preparation.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. The time varies slightly depending on the size. Normally it's good when the heart is a little swollen and forms a thin skin. Even if the texture seems a bit soft, it should be ready. This is the kind of dessert that settles and hardens as it cools. Well, hardens while remaining excellently tender. A dessert for both women AND men. Most definitely.

Checkmate! Killed by Tenderness.

When I was looking for a graduating project, I developped an idea of retelling dreams in space (I will not go further into explanation, I doubt you want to hear that long) and looked at a lot of Aboriginal Arts, because their culture is fonded on Dreamtime, a period before Creation and dreaming is considered as an even more "real" reality. The painting I chose is from Ningura Napurrula. This is a contemporary work by this Australian artist who also designed the roof on the first floor of the Quai Branly in Paris.

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