Ever had a cheesecake that was too dry or crumbly? Ever had a flan that fell apart and had no texture? Well, leave it to Julia Child to come up with not only a solution to these ghastly culinary mishaps, but create a dessert that is better than either of its original inspirations.
My regular readers know just how much I love Julia and how she is the only chef whose recipes I do not ever alter. This recipe is a fast, easy, sure-winner to add to your repertory. So easy and delicious in fact that I advise you start making this even if you don't usually bake -- yes, I know there are several of you who come here regularly just to drool, because you have told me so. :-)
Use your favorite pastry dough recipe or a high-quality store-bought pastry dough. Pastry dough freezes well and with the invention of food processors became quite easy to make, so I keep a few tart/pie shells in my freezer at all times for impromptu urges to make a tart or other baked goody.
Ingredients for the filling:
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
The grated rind of 1 lemon (be sure to remove any wax if purchased at a grocery store)
4 tablespoons of lemon juice (or more for a more lemony flavor)
8 ounces (1 package) of cream cheese
4 tablespoons sugar
A pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. pure, high-quality vanilla extract (remember to beware of the formerly good brands which are now adding corn syrup to their "pure" extracts!)
Ingredients for the decoration:
4-5 tablespoons sugar
4-5 tablespoons chopped walnuts (or your favorite nuts)
Unless you are using an oven stone, prebake your pastry dough following recipe or package directions (or until just beginning to color and pull from the sides). You can use a spring-ring mold, or a tart or pie pan.
Meanwhile, mix all ingredients in your blender or food processor.
Pour into your prebaked pastry dough (to about 1/8" from the top -- do not overfill to prevent spillage while baking) and bake in a 425 F. oven for about 10 minutes or until the filling is set. Lower oven temperature to 350 F. and sprinkle the decoration sugar and nuts over the top. Bake for another 10 minutes at the lower temperature. Your flan is ready when it is slightly browned and puffed.
It can be served warm, at room temperature or even cold.
If you end up with a bit too much for the size pan you picked, just bake the extra filling in a glass pudding cup.
Visit the other participants for more recipes in the Dairy Edition of Scrumptious Sunday.