Sardinian Creme Caramel (Flan di latte)

I’ve seen a lot of panna cotta insta-posts lately, and this made me really think of the simplicity of Italian desserts back home. Didn’t take long for this to escalate into a real craving! I’m not a fan of panna cotta itself, but instead I’m crazy for creme caramel! In Sardinia, it is very traditional and we call it Flan di Latte (meaning milk flan). Its recipe is very simple, relying on lemon as the main aroma, dancing in perfect fusion with the sweetness of the caramel. Our version, with rosemary, adds an extra aroma that balances out the sweetness of this dessert.

Ingredients:
1l full fat milk
8 eggs
180g sugar
1 lemon (the peeled zest)
2 tbsp rum
1 rosemary sprig (optional)
60g sugar
Two tbsp water
2-4 drops of lemon juice

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Step 1 – In a large pan, place the milk and the lemon zest. If you are using the rosemary, add the rosemary sprig. In alternative, you could use cardamom, to give it a more spiced character, like they do in Iran. Keep it at a medium heat, until the milk reaches boiling point. Turn the heat off and let it cool down.

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Step 2 – In the meantime, make your caramel. In a small pan add the 60g sugar, water and drops of lemon juice. Place it on the stove at a medium heat. When it starts boiling, keep shaking it. You can stir it with a spoon, but apparently this can also cause the caramel to crystalize. When it starts turning brown, turn the heat off and spread the caramel at the bottom of your mould.

Step 3 – In a large bowl, mix the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer.

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Step 4 – Once the milk is lukewarm, add the rum and mix it in, gradually, to the egg and sugar mix.

Step 5 – Pass the mixture through a sieve, so the bits of lemon zest and rosemary don’t stay in the compote, and then place it into the mould. At this point you should beat the mould on your kitchen surface to remove the air from the mixture. I forgot to do this, and you can see that my final flan looks very bubbly as a result.

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Step 6 – Turn the oven on at 180 and place the moulds on an oven tray that you have previously half filled with water. Let it bake, on bain marie, for one hour.

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Step 7 – Let it cool down out of the oven. Place it in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours. Only then will it be ready to be turned out on a serving dish, ready for you and your loved ones!

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