Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Flan Cake

I always see packaged, unfilled flan cakes at the grocery stores, usually right in the produce section with all the fruits. They have a nice soft almost spongy-like feel to them. But this one is homemade (and homemade is ALWAYS better!) Instead of using a boxed vanilla pudding for the filling, I decided to make my own pastry cream. Also, do you ever notice those horrific, red blobs in containers next to the fresh strawberries that they call "strawberry glaze"? For the love of God, do not buy that crap. Just warm up an all natural, seedless berry jam (or even apricot jam) and brush that on as a glaze.

Note to Dawn: I used the Bushel and Peck's Raspberry Jam you sent me; thanks again!

3/4 cup granualted sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cage free egg yolks
1-1/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract with zest of one lemon)

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:
2 cups half-and-half
1 whole vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch kosher salt
5 large cage free egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and hulled, sliced
1/4 seedless raspberry (or strawberry) jam, melted

equipment: one flan cake pan

Prepare pastry cream:

Heat the half-and-half, vanilla bean, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 20 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, remove the vanilla bean and scrape out all the "caviar" back into the cream mixture. Gradually whisk the simmering half-and-half into the yolk mixture to temper.

Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.

Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Note on straining: This is key step because it will ensure that your finished pastry cream will be silky smooth with no lumps or bumps.

Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the flan cake:

Beat butter, sugar and yolks until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with flavoring and milk. blending well. Pour into greased and floured flan pan.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Cool on rack for 10 minutes and invert cake onto plate.

Spoon onto flan cake and spread with an offset spatula. Arrange cut strawberries on top. Brush strawberries with raspberry glaze. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Below is our naughty night time slice!

Posted by Luisa

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