Pineappleweed Flan Recipe
Both the custard base and the drizzle on top of this silken dessert are infused with pineappleweed’s fruity aroma and taste. Pineappleweed (Matricaria matricarioides a.k.a. M. discoidea) is a common weed with a widespread distribution across North America and Northeast Asia. Info on how to identify it is in this other post that includes a recipe for pineappleweed cordial.
This recipe is from The Forager’s Feast, and yes, that was another shameless book plug.
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh pineappleweed sprigs, divided
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups half and half
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
- Tie 1/2 cup of the pineappleweed at one end with kitchen string or unwaxed dental floss. Put one cup of the sugar, the pineappleweed bundle, and the water in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts. Continue to cook, tipping the pot to mix the syrup (don’t use a spoon), until the syrup just begins to darken, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and take out the pineappleweed bundle. Immediately add the lemon juice and swirl the pan again to mix. Divide the mixture between six ramekins. Tilt each ramekin so that the syrup evenly coats the bottom and a bit up the sides. Place the ramekins with the pineappleweed syrup in a baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 325º F and bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil.
- Whisk together the half and half and vanilla in a small pot over medium-low heat. Tie the remaining cup of pineappleweed sprigs into two bundles and add to the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer (do not let the mixture boil). Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the pineappleweed bundles.
- Put the whole eggs plus egg yolks into a large bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the pinch of salt. Whisk until the mixture is thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the hot half and half mixture, starting with just a tablespoon full at a time (don’t add too much of the hot liquid at once or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs). Once you’ve added about half of the hot dairy mix, you can stop being so gradual and pour the rest in steadily, whisking the whole time.
- Strain the mixture through a fine meshed sieve into a large measuring cup or something else that is easy to pour from. Pour the custard into the ramekins.
- Pour the hot water into the baking dish. It should come halfway up the side of the ramekins. Carefully move the baking dish into the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The custard should still jiggle a bit if you move the ramekins. Let the flans cool in the water bath, then refrigerate for at least four hours (or as long as overnight) before unmolding.
- To unmold, run a knife around the inside of the ramekin to dislodge the flan. Put a plate on top of the ramekin and invert to release the flan.
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The Forager’s Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles is part field guide covering 50 plants, mushrooms, and seaweeds with a widespread distribution, and part cookbook for turning these wild edibles into delectable dishes.
“Leda Meredith is, in my opinion, the Foraging Goddess, and the next best thing to this book would be to share a field expedition with her! I highly recommend The Forager’s Feast to anyone who has a love of the wild foods.” – Amazon review by Susan C.