Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dessert: Life’s most important meal

Life must include occasional desserts.  Otherwise, eating lacks joy.  I’m not talking the fake sugar or fat-free kind of dessert.  I’m talking dessert that slides smoothly over the tongue and sends joy to one’s taste buds.

Thinking to ward off the food police, I’m not suggesting that every meal end with a sugar treat or that you eat cake and/or pie every day.  I am suggesting that once in a while a small decadent treat lengthens rather than shortening one’s life.  In fact, it is my opinion that not allowing an occasional dessert could cause one to die of food boredom.

At the same time, we singles dare not bake an entire cake or pie and leave it around to temp over indulgence.  That, to me, defeats the purpose.  Dessert should be anticipated and cherished on rare occasions.  Moderation, in my opinion, is the key to everything good in life.

Here is a dessert that I make a couple of times a year when I feel like treating myself.  Each bite brings such joy that eating it seems almost sinful.  I’m betting, however, that God approves.

Anisette Flan

Ingredients

1 Cup half-and-half

1/4 Cup sugar

1 Tablespoon grated orange zest

3 Egg yolks

1 Tablespoon Anisette Liqueur

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 Teaspoon coconut extract

1 Drop almond extract

Cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325°.  Put half-and-half, sugar, and orange zest into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, put egg yolks into a small bowl and whisk until thick and frothy.  Gradually add half-and-half mixture to yolks, whisking constantly.  Stir in Anisette, vanilla, and coconut and almond extracts.  Strain through fine sieve into two 6-ounce ramekins.

3. Arrange ramekins in a deep baking pan and add enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Carefully place pan in oven and bake until flans are just set and centers are slightly soft when you jiggle the ramekins, 35-40 minutes.  Remove flans from water bath, sprinkle with cinnamon and set aside for at least 15 minutes.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Note: Makes two servings.  I like to eat one at room temperature the same evening I make them and chill the second for the next evening.  Or, if you have a special friend you would like to give a nice treat, make a home delivery to that person around dinnertime.  Better yet, invite that person over for dinner when you make this delightful dessert.

Note 2: Can be made with other flavors of liqueur for a different taste and lemon zest also works fine.

Use tip: Store the egg whites in the refrigerator until the following morning, then make a healthy veggie omelet for breakfast or Sunday brunch.  Just chop and sauté some veggies such as bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and or tomato and pour slightly beat egg whites over all.  Cook until set and sprinkle with a little cheese before serving.

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