A dessert this great is worth the wait. A rich, creamy custard with caramelized sugar is topped with sugared rolled oats and dried cranberries that take a long bath in apple brandy.
Though the recipe comes together easily, the first step begins the day before. Just dump the dried cranberries in a bowl with the Calvados. By the time the cranberries are ready the next day, you've got just an hour of work left. Just be sure to let the flans cool completely before trying to unmold; they slip out of the ramekins more easily when cool.
Ginger flan with caramelized oats and Calvados cranberries
For the Calvados cranberries:
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup Calvados (apple brandy)
For the caramelized oats:
¾ cup extra-thick rolled oats
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the custard:
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup sliced fresh ginger
14-ounce can sweetened
12-ounce can evaporated milk
Pinch of salt
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
In a small bowl, combine the cranberries and Calvados. Cover and let soak overnight.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium skillet over the medium-high heat, toast the oats, stirring often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the salt, then stir until the sugar melts and turns golden brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter. Spoon onto the prepared baking sheet and set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with a kitchen towel. Have ready eight 4-ounce ramekins.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and ginger. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat off and cover. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a near boil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, salt, whole eggs, egg yolks and cornstarch.
When the cream has finished steeping, strain it into the egg mixture, discard the ginger. Stir together the eggs and cream.
In another small pan over medium, heat the sugar until it melts and turns golden brown. Pour a small amount of the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin, swirling to coat the bottom. Divide the custard mixture between the ramekins, then place the filled ramekins into the towel-lined pan.
Place the pan in the oven and carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle around the ramekins to come halfway up the sides, being careful not to get any water in the custards.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the custards are just set. Remove from the pan of water and let sit at room temperature until the ramekins are cool enough to handle. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the ramekins. Place a dessert plate over the top of a ramekin and invert. Lift the ramekin off the plate, allowing the custard to slide out.
Spoon some of the soaked cranberries onto the plate around the custard, then top with the caramelized oats. Makes 8 individual servings.