Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Give Easter a tropical flare with this Mango Tango Flan

Several years ago I was on a quest for the perfect vegan flan recipe, and I decided to take a shot at creating it myselfI was striving for authentic creamy lusciousness, albeit without all the eggs and condensed milk. I think I came pretty close. The key was to cook that caramel syrup almost to the point where you think you've gone too far (I stopped a little too soon and ended up with a soupy syrup in the end), and to heat the soy milk mixture just long enough to melt the agar agar, but not overboil it (lest you want a wedge of rubber on your plate). I made the flan with soy milk, and have since tried modifying the recipe with extra rich Silk creamer and some Tofutti cream cheese for extra creaminess.  I've even done it with coconut milk, which changes the flavor to something more tropical.

Recently I was reminded of my original inspiration for this dessert, a Mango Tango Flan which was more like a loose cheesecake with a nut crust than a custardy flan with caramel top, though nonetheless delicious.  As Easter approaches, I was thinking this would be a festive centerpiece for the dessert table since it's so colorful and flavorful.  This recipe can be found in the Friends of Animals cookbook, The Best of Vegan Cooking by Priscilla Feral (2009), and my original version follows below.

Mango Tango Flan
1 cup finely ground walnuts
1/3 cup finely ground rolled oats
1 Tbl corn starch or arrowroot
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl coconut oil, melted
In a food processor, pulse walnuts and oats until they are finely ground.  Pour into a bowl and mix with other dry ingredients.  Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, and oil.  Spread batter into a oiled 8” spring form pan.  This is a sticky batter, so use a spatula (and you may need to wet your fingers to press it into place).  Prick batter with a fork, then bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.
1 cup mango papaya juice
1/2 cup water
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 ripe banana, peeled and diced
2 Tbl agar agar flakes (or 1 1/2 tsp agar powder)
1 12 oz. container firm silken tofu (Mori Nu)
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
In a small pot, simmer mango, juice and water on medium high heat for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and set mango aside in a blender.  Return pot of juice to burner and dissolve agar agar in it.  Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, then simmer for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.  Pour thickened liquid into blender with mango, banana, tofu, syrup, vanilla, salt and turmeric.  Puree until smooth (you may need to do this in batches).  Pour filling into springform pan with cooled crust and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
3 Tbl apricot preserves
2 Tbl water
Heat preserves and water in a small sauce pot until it becomes a liquid.  Bring to a boil for about a minute.  Once filling has set, pour glaze over the top and garnish with “half moon” slices of lime.  
(modified from “Apricot Crème Pie with Caramel Crust,” The Ultimate Un-Cheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak)


Anonymous said...

You use rice flour in your recipe. Does it matter whether you use white or brown rice flour? I tend to like the white rice flour in my cakes.

Mary Lawrence said...

Thank you for your comment, Anonymous! I tend to use white rice flour as well, but either works fine in this recipe.