Pandan is a tropical leaf commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking, reminiscent of giant blades of grass. When cooking with pandan, a smooth, floral flavor gets infused into the dish. In this recipe from Chomp Chomp in NYC, pandan is used to flavor a coconut flan for a unique spin on the classic dessert.
Typically, you can find pandan leaves in the freezer section of Asian markets. If you have difficulty locating them, you can buy pandan extract online as a substitute.
To learn more, read "Pandan Express."
Recipe adapted from Chomp Chomp, New York, NY
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
For the Caramel:
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup water
For the Custard:
1 cup roughly chopped pandan leaves
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup sugar
Boiling water, for the water bath
1. Make the caramel: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture turns amber in color, 6 to 8 minutes. Divide between 6 shallow 4-ounce ramekins, swirling the mixture around to coat the bottom surface completely.
2. Make the custard: Preheat the oven to 350º. Combine the pandan leaves and water in a blender and purée. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the liquid to a medium bowl, along with the vanilla and the eggs. Whisk until smooth.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, whole milk and sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is just beginning to steam, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the egg mixture until smooth.
4. Place the prepared ramekins in a roasting pan and strain the custard into each dish, filling up to the tops. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to cover the bottom half of each ramekin.
5. Transfer to the oven and bake until the flan is set, 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then refrigerate until the custard is firm, 4 hours.
6. To serve, run a paring knife around the inside of each ramekin, then invert the flan onto a plate.
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