I love flan! Well, I love all sorts of sweets, so flan is no exception. One of my must-do things in Japan is going to the convenience stores there. Japanese call those 24/7 stores konbini（コンビニ）(a Japanese contraction for the word convenience). They have proper names like Family Mart or Lawson and also Seven-Elevens but people just call them konbini and they are nothing like in the states. They sell great tasting bentos, onigiris, breads, desserts and a variety of cold drinks. I had oden (おでん）a seasonal item on cold winter’s night and it was not bad at all. Of course there are other non-food items and services available - like a home delivery called Takuhai(宅配). Once I sent a suitcase ahead of time to my destination because I didn’t want to be bothered by carrying it for the side trip for sightseeing. Probably the first thing my husband and I do is visit a konbini when we go to Japan. The flight to Narita Airport from Portland, Oregon is an ordeal of over 10 hours then we take the Shinkansen to the 1st stop, arriving quite exhausted in Nagoya at 9 PM. We are too tired to go to a restaurant so we usually head to a konbini for a cheap yet tasty meal. I almost always look for flan for dessert. My favorite is creamy and light flan torofua purin (とろふあプリン). Incredibly light and creamy just like the name! Some flan tastes eggy (is this a word?) but this one has a more milky flavor that melts in your mouth. Really! This won the 1st prize in a now cancelled Japanese TV competition show called TV Champion some years back. Even if you don’t like custard, you will like this one I’m sure. It tastes like softer version of pots de crème.
I have several flan recipes which are all fabulous, but I incorporated left over mango puree in this one because I didn’t want to waste it. It needs to be chilled for 6 hours or more so make it in the morning if you want to have it in the evening. Or make it in the evening and have it for breakfast? Just kidding.
Mango flan for 8 individual 6-ounce custard cups
- 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 and 3/4 cups pureed mango- 2-3 good size mango skinned, pitted and pureed in blender or food processer.
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 cups half and half
- 5 large eggs
- First make caramel syrup by combining 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup hot water and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Without stirring, though occasionally swirling the pan, boil the sugar until it turns deep amber in color. Be careful not to burn the sugar.
- Pour syrup equally into eight custard cups. Set aside.
- Now the main part. Whisk mango puree, lime juice, ginger and 1/3 cup sugar in heavy medium sauce pan at medium heat until mixture thickens and large bubbles break surface; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool mixture by stirring. Preheat oven to 350F now.
- In a large bowl, whisk the half and half and eggs together.
- Stir in the mango mixture and then strain the custard.*
- Pour custard into the prepared custard cups equally.
- Place custard cups in large 9x13 glass casserole dish.
- Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups.
- Cover pan with foil then bake flan for about 30 minutes. TURN OFF HEAT and leave it there for another 30 minute.
- Remove from casserole dish, remove foil cover, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- Run a small knife around sides of cup. Place plate atop cup. Invert flan onto plate. Serve (cover) with sweet whipped cream if you like. I had to. Because flan didn’t come out cleanly.
When we were in Sapporo, Hokkaido in May of last year, we ventured out to get Samurai pudding (侍プリン) we heard about. The ad said that Samurai purin is made for men (男のプリン）Supposedly,the bitter caramel taste and not so sweet custard is suited for men. Hmmm,,,. Nice! But we still liked torofua purin better.
We brought the Samurai Purin glass home
As for mango flan, my guys (my husband and back home son) like regular flan and voted down this new creation of mango flavored flan. They protested by saying why fix a good thing? I don’t know… because I had left overs?
Today is the 4th of July. We came home from Independence Day celebration at a friends. We really had a fun time having good food, playing in the field and visiting. They neatly adorned the table with 4th of July theme homemade decorations that were charming! Then for me, holding a young couple’s few weeks old baby was the icing on the cake, how blessed for him to be born to loving parents and in this great country! I too am blessed to live here, not all perfect yet perfect in a sense. I hear noises of the fire work show my neighbor puts up every year. We pull up lawn chairs to watch them going. “Ohhh”, “Ahhh” then clap our hands in approval. Perfect end to this marvelous day.
A Happy Independence Day to you all.