If the calendar is to believed, spring arrives in just a couple of days! I don't know about your winter, but here in southern Manitoba, we've had a long and cold one this year. Not a lot of snow but I'm looking forward to being able to take the ice grips off my boots and putting the long johns away!
The one advantage to our long winters, is that it gives me lots of time to play with new recipes.
The one I am sharing today is a Double Lemon Flan.
Creating the filling and topping was easy .. but the flan base? The base took three tries before I got it to what I wanted it to be, The first attempt, was lacking lemon flavour, a bit dry and didn't rise at all. The second attempt, was more flavourful but dry and broke apart as I inverted it out of the pan onto the plate.
What to do?
I then remembered that I had a couple of Lemon Muffin recipes that were more like cake than muffin in texture. I pulled out my Lemon Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe that was based on a recipe (LemonChip Muffins) from Taste Of Home. I knew that my recipe and the original would make far more batter than I needed for the flan base, so I divided my recipe in half with a few more modifications - including not using the chocolate chips. (Yes, I do occasionally make dessert recipes that don't include chocolate! LOL!).
The base didn't brown much but the overall flavour and texture was what I had imagined it could be!
This would make a great dessert for any gathering at any time of the year! Since Easter Sunday is only two weeks away, it would also look wonderful on the dessert table for your Easter gathering. The oohs, ahhs and mmm's will wow them!
Double Lemon Flan
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter or block margarine, softened to room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large or 3 medium lemons
1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
8 ounces light cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 package (4 serving) instant lemon pudding powder
3 - 5 Tablespoons lemon juice (saved from the lemons used in the base)
2 cups frozen whip topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups frozen whip topping, thawed
1-2 teaspoon lemon zest
Flan Base Directions
Generously spray a flan pan with non stick cooking spray such as Pam. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Wash and dry the lemons. Zest the peel of the two lemons onto a medium sized plate. Measure out about 2 teaspoons and set aside for garnish. The remainder will go into the flan batter.
Juice the lemons, removing any seeds. Measure out 1/4 cup of the juice. Measure the remainder (will likely be about 3 - 5 Tablespoons) of the lemon juice and set that amount aside for part of the filling.
Place the 1/4 cup lemon juice in a one cup measuring cup. Add 1/4 cup milk and just enough sour cream to make 3/4 cup. Stir to combine, then let stand for about 5-10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Place the lemon zest (except for the amount you set aside for the garnish) in a large mixing bowl. Add the white sugar. With your VERY clean hands, rub the sugar and zest together so that the sugar takes on a light yellow colour from the zest. This allows the lemon flavour to be infused into the sugar for an even better flavour. Once this is done, add the butter (or softened black margarine). With an electric mixer, cream together . Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt;
Add about 1/2 cup of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Combine then scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add about 1/2 of the lemon/milk mixture. Mix it in, then scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add another 1/2 cup of the flour mixture and mix it in, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add remaining lemon/milk mixture. Mix it in, then scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add remaining flour mixture. Mix it in thoroughly, Scrape down the sides and along the bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Pour batter into prepared flan pan. Using a scraper or the back of a spoon, level the batter out across the whole pan. (The batter will fill up the deeper rim to level up with the batter in the center. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. Note that this flan does not really brown around the edges or on top so you will have to use a toothpick to test for doneness. Stick the toothpick in near the deeper part of the rim in a couple places as well as in the center of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean, the flan is done. If not, give it another minute or two in the oven and test again. Remove pan to a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes before attempting to invert the flan onto a serving plate. (Note: I forgot to take a pic of the baked flan before removing it from the pan - Oops!) Allow flan to cool completely before making and adding the filling.
Filling and Topping Directions
In a medium bowl, whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer till light and very creamy. Add the instant lemon pudding powder and the 3 - 5 Tablespoons of reserved lemon juice. Beat till completely combined. (The mixture will be quite stiff due to the instant pudding powder) Fold in about 2 cups of whipped topping. (I guesstimate the amount rather than do a full measure) Mix till uniform colour (no streaks of white) Filling will be VERY thick and a bit stiff. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled flan being careful not to cover the outer rim.
Spoon about 1 1/2 cups of the whip topping over the lemon cream layer and spread evenly - again being careful not to spread onto the rim. Sprinkle with the remaining 1-2 teaspoons of lemon zest.
Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours to allow the filling and topping to completely set before serving. At that point, you can either cut and serve OR insert 4 or 5 toothpicks and cover with plastic wrap and return to the fridge to serve later or the next day. Note that using the toothpicks before covering with plastic wrap helps to prevent the topping from sticking to the wrap and therefore creates a nicer display when the dessert is ready to be served - just remember to actually remove the toothpicks before serving so no one accidently tries to eat one!