Monday, January 16, 2012

Vanilla Banana Caramel Flans

I recently bought this book Small Batch Baking and i"m already in love with it. Thanks to Debby for such a wonderful book. I've already tried most of the recipes from the book with lovely results. This book serves for just 1 or 2 people, just small portions of baked goods. Have you ever tried to measure one teaspoon of an egg or even halve an egg?? This book does and the results are just perfect.  It satisfies the sweet tooth cravings along with saving those large batches of goodies which either gets distributed to neighbors or you end up eating most of it. Perfect for small households, or just whipping up something for the kids when they come home from school. This book delivers small yield recipes for all types of baking.

And now about the flan, this flan is creamy and caramely. Instead of using a full fat cream, this recipe uses half-an-half, i.e., a mixture of one part milk and one part cream. The banana puree adds richness and taste. The flavor is astonishingly intense and makes a sophisticated dessert. Debby says garnish the plate with slices of caramelized banana: cut one or two bananas into long diagonal slices and toss them with a bit of lemon juice. Arrange them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with light brown sugar, and broil or grill until the sugar melts; it will take about one minute.

Makes 2 flans ; Serves 2


  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 very ripe banana (i used a small one)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half (mixture of one part milk to one part cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Boiling water, for the baking dish


  • Two 1-cup souffle dishes or ramekins
  • 1 baking pan

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 deg F (160 deg C). Set aside a baking pan that will hold the souffle dishes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium-size mixing bowl, and set aside.

2. Pour 1/3 cup of water into a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then boil, without stirring, until the color turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the color is a medium golden amber, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and spoon 11/2 tablespoons of the caramel into each souffle dish. Reserve the remaining in the saucepan. Set the souffle dishes aside.

4. Peel the banana and slice it into the saucepan. Add the lemon juice and mash the banana, caramel and lemon juice together with a potato masher or a pastry blender. Add the half-and-half and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the banana is cooked, 1 minute. Then remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing down hard on the banana to extract as much pulp as possible. Scrap off the pulp clinging to the bottom of the sieve and add it to the custard mixture in the bowl.

5. Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla into the custard mixture, and pour the mixture evenly over the caramel in the souffle dishes, dividing it evenly between them. Place the souffle dishes in the baking pan and pour boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dishes. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the flans until the centers are set, 25 to 30 minutes.

6. Remove the baking pan from the oven and carefully lift the souffle dishes from the pan with a metal spatula. Let the flans cool completely on a wire rack. Then cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, 6 hours or overnight.

7. To serve, run a small sharp knife around the inside of the souffle dishes to loosen the flans. Cover a souffle dish with a dessert plate, and quickly invert the flans onto the plate. Pour the caramel mixture remaining in the souffle dish over the flan. Repeat with the second flan. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nutella Fudge Brownies

These small bites are just not enough to satisfy your sweet buds. You'll surely be asking for more and 12 minis will be just gone in minutes. These brownie bites are just made with using 4 ingredients and can be whipped in just 2 minutes. These brownies are fudgy in texture and not too sweet,  just perfect for me and the nuts on top get roasted as they bake and give a wonderful crunch. You'll need mini muffin cups or pan for the recipe. If you are in Bangalore, India you can get these mini muffin cups in General Food Additives.
Here goes the recipe...

Recipe Adapted from Desserts 4 Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just Four Ingredients (USA |India)

Makes 12 Brownies


  • 1/2 cup Nutella Spread 
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped ( i have used walnuts, can use almonds too)


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
  4. Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

In place of the hazelnuts, switch in one of the following:
* ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon (add with the flour)
* peanuts, chopped, 1/4 cup

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