Monday, November 1, 2010

A Low Fat Pumpkin Flan Recipe – Unfortunately it Worked

This delicious pumpkin flan is the result of an experiment in replacing the recipe's usual cream and half and half with low-fat milk. While part of me may have been secretly hoping it wouldn’t come out that good (so I could go back to using cream), I was really happy with the results.

As a self-described expert in human nature, especially as it relates to butterfat, I do have one suggestion; keep that whole low-fat thing to yourself. This great holiday dessert idea should be able to stand on its own merits, without a disclaimer regarding the reduced calories.

Having said that, if someone's not thrilled with this leaner version, well, then we reserve the right to bust out the old, "hey, what the hell did you expect, I used low-fat milk instead of cream!?"

One note on the recipe quantity: If you use 5 to 6 ounce ramekins like I did, you'll have enough pumpkin flan mixture for about eight. I onl
y did six for the video, so I didn't want anyone to be confused.

You can refrigerate the mixture and bake these in batches, but of course they will take longer in the oven, since the custard will be cold going in. Also, a cup of sugar will just barely make enough caramel for 8 ramekins, so in the ingredients below I've increased the sugar a bit to make sure you have enough.

This pumpkin flan recipe would be great any time of year, but really shines around the holidays. I'm not saying forgo the usual array of pumpkin pies, but this may be a great alternative for those that want something a little lighter and crust-free. Enjoy!




Ingredients for 8 Individual Pumpkin Flan:
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
5 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 can pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla (or a split bean)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of allspice
pinch of mace
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk (for richer version sub 1 cup cream plus 3/4 cup half and half)
pumpkin seeds to garnish, optional

48 comments:

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

Love the video! Well done. I think I recognize that spatula (tee hee). You should be deservedly proud! Quick, easy, and beautiful for the holidays! I like how you "show" when its done.

Chef John said...

Thanks! ...and LOL at your swag recognizing abilities!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

adding pumpkin puree to the creme caramel recipe :o

..i have to try it soon! :))

Rita said...

that looks so good! a difinite must recipe to try.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh....! Elegant comfort food! Thanks for this!

KrisD said...

That is WAY too sexy, CJ--but it looks perfect for a nice dessert sans crust (My family, who are visiting for TG are gluten-free--this will be awesome!)

sequimteeth said...

Chef,

How can I convert pumpkin puree into fresh pumpkin quantity? My guess would be to scrape out the goodie from the inner wall and puree it. Would the quantities be equal? 8oz or fresh = 8 oz of canned? What do you think?

Pumpkins grow well here in Sequim - I hate to use canned.

Chef John said...

a cup of pumpkin weighs about 8 ounces, and i used a 15 oz can, so just short of 2 cups would work.

Anonymous said...

So happy and hungry right now! But I have a question, one cup,how many milliliters is that?120ml or 250ml?
Sorry my english, I'm from Brazil

Chef John said...

240 ml. FYI, if you type any measurement into google and add metric, you will get the conversion. Enjoy!

The Daily Sarah said...

Hey Chef John,

I hardly ever do "schmancy" desserts, and I've never had flan before. So making this was really fun. They're in the oven right now.

I had trouble with the caramel sauce. It kept running dry and doing strange things, so I kept adding water (a TB at a time). My caramel sauce hardened in the cups with bubbles still present.

I'm sure it will still taste fine, I'm just wondering if I had the heat up too high or I should have just waited longer or what.

thanks for all the great videos!

Chef John said...

You just needed to wait for it to melt. Thanks!

shristy said...

thnx for the vid....i just wanned to ask u some questions....is it ok not to use pumpkin for the same recipe? and what is the difference if i want to make in one single container? change of oven temp. and time??
thank you for the recipe :-D

Chef John said...

Sorry, don't understand the "ok not to use pumpkin" question. You can use one baking dish, same temp, almost same time, just check to see when set.

shristy said...

thnx...what i meant was is it fine if i skip pumpkin puree :-)

w3bd3v said...

Maybe next year you can post something festive before the Canadian Thanksgiving. You know, for us fans above the border. :)

Razors Edge said...

can i use broccoli puree instead?

Chef John said...

shristy, sorry, but the pumpkin is kind of a key ingredient in a pumpkin flan ;-)

Chef John said...

Hey Razor, I'll do the jokes! ;-)

Jay Soma said...

My dear Chef John, you left out the quantity for the pumpkin spice. I assumed 1/8 tsp. Tried this yesterday evening. Here's my feedback. The lowfat milk kinda works. The addition of the pumpkin puree gives the flan more of a pie texture though, and takes away from the custard texture one would expect from a flan. But man, a pumpkin dessert in the fall . . . nothing like it.

Chef John said...

Thanks, actually my pumpkin pie spice is juts cinnamon, clove and ginger, so I listed it individually on the ingredients.

Jay Soma said...

Ahh, I see. I actually went out and bought pumpkin pie spice, and added it in addition to the cinnamon, clove, and ginger =(

Chef John said...

it will be fine! Also, you'll use it when you make a batch of pies!

shristy said...

hehehehe....true... i was kinda wanting to get you to give me a recipe for creme caramel...without nything in it...i mean the basic recipe but couldnt get it out frm you...but thnx may be some other time you might do it.....=

Anonymous said...

I also had the same "issue" with the sugar. I tried adding water at first when it got dry and clumped and then ended up scrapping the first batch of sugar. I read your comment Chef John and just let the dry, powdery sugar cook, and it did melt back down. That might have been something to note in the video for us caramel newbies. : D

Alex P said...

hey chef john. I have been a fan of your blog for a few years now and I often watch your recipes when I am supposed to be doing homework. If you were interested in seeing another person's video recipe you could see me making a flan at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Jp3nArrABo
The only problem is it is in spanish for my spanish project, but I seem to remember you saying in some video that you took 2 years of spanish in high school so maybe you'll understand it.

sequimteeth said...

Today was Flan day. Used fresh pumpkin. Tried two ways-(1)cut rind off and cook shredded pulp cut pumpkin in half and (2) bake at 375F for 40 min and removed the pulp. You were correct - 15oz is just shy of 2 cups. Bake is best. Sugar was a learning experience. Found that temperature is very important. Got it too low at one point. Used 4oz ramikins so plenty to spare. It turned out very nicely. The fresh pumpkin gave the flan a robust texture. Great recipe.

Connie said...

@ sequimteeth
I also learned that you can cut the pumpkin into 4 pieces and put it in the microwave with the peel wide up for 15min. and the peel will come right off

@Chef John
I made the Martha Stewart version for Canadian thanksgiving (I'm from Canada)...so for American Thanksgiving (visiting boyfriend in the States right now) I'm going to combine the 2 recipes

1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup of water for caramel sauce (using a 9" pie pan that's narrower at the bottom instead so it should be plenty)

15 oz can pumpkin puree
5 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t chipotle chili powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t ground cloves (I forgot this last time but it still tasted great)
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cup half and half

Stewart's recipe used 1 can of condensed milk and 1.5 cup of whole milk...it was sooo decadant

Mom said...

Looking forward to Michee's "richer" version for our Thanksgiving meal! Love, Mom.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! Thank you very much chef John. Wish you a wonderful New Year from Brazil.

Anonymous said...

Chef John:

The flan was a big hit with my family on Christmas day. Only one problem -- I had trouble melting the sugar. I had the same trouble as the reader above -- dry clumpy sugar -- had to scrap the first batch. When the second batch did finally melt, it most likely got too dark. At the end, when I flipped over the ramikens with the flan onto a plate, much of the sugar was stuck on the bottom of the ramiken, even though I had sprayed the dishes with Pam. Advice is welcome.

Waylon said...

Chef John,
Some quick questions about technique... what is the purpose of scalding the milk in this recipe and can you get away without doing it? And does warming the water for the water bath and covering the dish only serve to bake more quickly in the oven? Thanks in advance!

Chef John said...

Hot milk extracts the vanilla flavor. Yes to 2nd question.

Victoria Robertson said...

How do I start a blog like yours ??? I typed in blogspot.com but it doesn' work :P

Laura said...

In ur video u add pumpkin spice but that's not specified on the amount on your site. Could u tell me how much u add of that please. I love your recipes by the way. I've made the boston creme pie and sun shine cheesecake. They were both a big hit! :)

Chef John said...

Sorry, I listed the individual spices in the ingredients. I had one that was a combo of some of the ones listed. Just add what's stated. Enjoy!

Diandra said...

The Pumpkin Brulee and the Low Fat Pumpkin Flan look like terrific recipes. But, could you please specify just how much canned pumpkin puree---there are two sized cans out there in the stores. Thanks!!

Diandra said...

The Pumpkin Brulee and the Low Fat Pumpkin Flan look like terrific recipes. But, could you please specify just how much canned pumpkin puree---there are two sized cans out there in the stores. Thanks!!

Chef John said...

Just the regular 15oz cans. Enjoy!

Stacie said...

Hey Chef John! I have this problem with the sugar top to the flan. When I take it out of my little glass cups I'm using to make the flan in, half the sugar is on the flan in a very thin layer and half is in the cup still. I can pull it out but it's just a thick hard rock candy and doesn't make enough sauce. Is there anything I could do to make more of the hard sugar melt?

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John. Is there any substitute for the mace ? Or can I just disregard this . Please answer , thanks.

She'saPistol said...

I've been making a similar pumpkin flan recipe for years. I use fat free evaporated milk in mine--it gives it a little guilt free extra richness.
Chef John, I love all your videos. Your easy going, friendly narration makes every recipe less intimidating. Thank you!

Chef John said...

Thank you!

Marta Biernacki said...

Hey Chef John,

I was just wondering if Soy milk would work in this? And generally wondering if soy would work in other flan/custard recipes or if I should just stick with milk...

Thanks for the great videos!

Chef John said...

Sorry, never worked with it!

SovPhil13 said...

Hey Chef John. I've been watching your videos since early 2011. I love them.
anyway,
I am making this for thanksgiving for my family, but my parents want me to do it as like one big flan that
you serve by scooping a piece out with a big spoon. I keep telling them it won't work because of the caramel sauce and the individual flans are the only way to do it.
but they remain convinced it will be fine. who is correct here?

Chef John said...

not sure of exact times, but yes it would work in the big pan. Just MUCH better as individual cups.

toomcl said...

Hey Chef John, Just read your perfect Prime Rib recipe.
We are going to try it for
Christmas. My son usually
grills it and it is a major production! Sometimes he gets
it right and sometimes he does not. Your receipe seems so
simple and delicious. Wish us luck. MissKitty