Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin flan - for diabetics

     Pumpkin is my all-time favorite vegetable. I am not a veggie eater as a child, but if I had it my way, i would eat laswa with kalabasa (pumpkin) and alugbati (vine spinach) everyday. When I discovered that you can make a flan with kalabasa, I was so excited to try it.

     Leche flan is a custard cake, a favorite Filipino dessert. It's rich, creamy and very sweet. The only issue i have with it is that it's made of egg yolks, and LOTS of them, about 10-12 per recipe. Egg yolks are high in fat and cholesterol, one yolk has 213 mg cholesterol, that's more than 70% of our recommended daily requirement (300 mg). So that's 320 mg of cholesterol per serving, not mentioning the fat in milk. Not really something I would feed my family.

Here's a leche flan recipe from Panlasang Pinoy

     This pumpkin flan recipe, however, will use 3 whole eggs. Pumpkin is a very good source of vitamin A, very low in calories, and has almost no fat. Even though it has a high glycemic index, the low carbohydrate content in pumpkin offsets it's high GI value resulting to lower effect on blood sugar. This is good news to my diabetic aunt.

     This is a diabetic version, to make it non-diabetic, use 1 cup condensed milk for the custard and 1/2 cup sugar for the caramel.

  2 cups pumpkin puree
  1/2 cup condensed milk
  1/2 cup evaporated milk
  3 whole eggs
  3 tbsp sugar

Cooking instructions:
1. Heat the mold over low fire. Put in the sugar and caramelize (if using brown sugar, just melt the sugar) and remove from heat. Set aside
2. Beat the eggs and sieve (for best results, use katsa (cheesecloth) to separate remaining egg whites.
3. Mix together condensed and evaporated milk, pumpkin and eggs evenly.
4. Pour mixture on mold with caramel and steam for 45 mins or until center is a bit wobbly.

     You can see that my photo is not a perfect flan. Never in my life had I made a perfect flan. It's always full of air pockets. So what is the secret of a smooth, silky and firm leche flan? Here are some tips that I heard about:

  • Sieve the mixture using a cheesecloth to thoroughly remove egg whites.
  • Temper the eggs before steaming: scald the milk for 2 mins in a microwave or heat it until near boil then gradually add in the eggs while continuously whisking.
  • Steam the mixture when water is not yet boiling. This one is true. I used to boil the water before I add the mixture, and it always had air pockets. When i tried this, there was still some air pockets but it was a great improvement.
  • Do not use high heat in steaming
Serves: 8
Calories per serving: 145

  • Very high in Vitamin A.
  • High in cholesterol (attributed to eggs)


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