Friday, December 31, 2010

Pre-Resolution Pumpkin Flan

Canned Pumpkin and Condensed Milk
 Featured Ingredients: Libby's Pumpkin and Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

The New Year is upon us.  This year I'm ringing in 2011 in a much different way. Last year, I celebrated the arrival of 2010 in Times Square courtesy of NIVEA with an invitation to a party at the Hard Rock Cafe and a hotel room one block away. It's the only way you would catch me in Times Square on New Year's Eve.  I could never stand out in the cold for hours upon end cooped up in a pen.  More power to those who can dig deep and accomplish this.  It's the same kind of admiration I have for the people who go on Survivor. Miss a meal.  Forget about it.

I received the invitation to Times Square unexpectedly. During the week between Christmas and New Year's the VP of Marketing extended an open invitation for a casual lunch to any one in his area. About 9 people accepted.  At the lunch everyone was talking about their plans for New Year's Eve in Times Square.  I sat quietly eating nibbling on my salad. "You are going to New Year's Eve?" he asked me.  I sort of shrugged my shoulders and shook my head no.  "Oh, but you went last year," he said. I smiled an awkward smile and shook, my head no again. He asked, Why? He thought maybe I turned it down. I sat silent with a perplexed look on my face. I didn't feel comfortable saying in front of everybody that, I wasn't asked to participate.  An invitation was offered to me on December 30th. I really did appreciate it. Maybe the VP Marketing felt embarrassed by that conversation at lunch, I'm not sure.  I didn't go this year as that VP has now gone overseas to work at the parent company and as a part of his objectives in the U.S. he reduced his head count by, unfortunately, eliminating the department I used to work in this year. 

So since my family is now functioning on primarily one income and whatever I collect from unemployment, I am a lot more price conscious. I spend a lot more time in the bargain aisle these days. A dwindling item right now is canned pumpkin.  With the holidays drawing to a close you may be pumpkined out.  This is a great time however to stock up on this seasonal goodie, in case you get a craving for it come March. Or if you just can't get enough of this squash here is a dessert that is easy and elegant as it is rich and decadent.  It's not the best choice if you are starting a weight loss resolution come tomorrow.  But tomorrow is the weekend  and maybe you could start fresh on Monday!

I made this Flan for Thanksgiving this year.  It was a nice switch from traditional pumpkin pie.  I didn't post it then as I was still very busy with aforementioned day job.

Pumpkin Flan

3/4 cup sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

1.  Make Caramel. - Get a clean 9 in deep dish glass pie dish.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan, stir together sugar and 2 tbsps water. Whisk together and bring to simmer over medium-high heat.  Let cook but don't stir but periodically swirl pan to heat caramel until it is a rich amber color about 5 minutes.  Immediately pour caramel into pie plate, turning plate to coat evenly.

2. Set a pot of water to boil. Separately, place rack in lower tier of oven and preheat to 325F.    In blender of food processor, combine condensed milk, pumpkin, whole milk, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt and process until smooth.  You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your appliances. Pour into prepared dish.

3. Set pie dish in a large shallow roasting pan and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the side.

4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until center barely jiggles when dish is shaken. Remove from hot water and and let cool on wire rack for 1 hour.  Put flan in refrigerator to chill.

5.  When ready to serve run a knife or thin offset spatula around the outside of the dish to release flan. Set large flat serving plate upside-down on top of pie dish and quickly invert both.  Let flan release onto plate.

Pumpkin Flan
 Enjoy the calories. Wherever you are ringing in 2011, I wish you all a Happy New Year. 

Happy New Year 2011!

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