Cuban Coffee Flan

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Cuban coffee flan is made with chilled sweet and strong Cuban coffee, the dark elixir enjoyed religiously by Miami locals. Cuban coffee is a breakfast staple, an afternoon pick-me-up, or the perfect reason to congregate with friends around ‘la ventana’ at Versailles while enjoying salty croquetas and some chiste. The Miami nectar even has its own hashtag, #305cafecito, denoting the time for the afternoon colada and honoring the city’s famous ‘305’ area code.

pack-the-bustelofreshly-brewed-cuban-coffee

Cuban coffee flan is creamy, sweet, and silky smooth with the rich, roasted flavor of Cuban coffee. As you know I love flan, and its perfect simplicity. I was inspired to make a coffee flavored flan after dining out at a local Miami restaurant, Love is Blind, where a cappuccino flan is on the dessert menu. Flan is a versatile and simple baked custard dessert.

now-top-with-chocolate-shavings-or-chocolate-covered-espresso-beans coffee-flan

The milks in the flan ease the intensity of the Cuban coffee and give it the flavor of a cappuccino or a delicious café con leche. This recipe for Cuban coffee flan is a wonderful change from the traditional crème caramel. Treat friends or family to a slice of Cuban coffee flan with a little extra cafecito on the side.

Cuban Coffee Flan

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup prepared Cuban coffee
  • 1 cup sugar divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Allow the eggs (and cream cheese if you choose to add some) to get to room temperature. I am convinced room temperature eggs make for a better flan, but go ahead and use them straight out of the fridge if you insist. Make the Cuban coffee and allow it to cool. Now, prepare the caramelized sugar coating for the flan second since it needs to cool before you can pour in the custard mixture.

Add a ½ cup of the white sugar into the flanera. I have never made flan in anything but a flanera (easily found at any grocery store in Miami- likely not so easy to find elsewhere). I have seen that people make flan in all sorts of containers, but I swear by the flanera since the lid and locks allow the flan to also steam on the inside of the device. Put the sugar on low to medium heat and have a spoon handy to stir.

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Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT try to taste the sugar as it is caramelizing. The sugar will be molten hot and will surely burn your tongue and your skin if you touch it. Little sections of the sugar will start to caramelize faster- gently stir the sugar so it doesn’t burn and mixes evenly. The caramelized sugar should be completely clear when it is done. The sugar will be a little cloudy as it melts, and it is not finished until it is crystal clear and a lovely rich amber hue. This part is easy to mess up and burn the caramel. You can still technically use it, but it might not taste as great as a perfectly done caramel. Once the sugar is done caramelizing, hold the flanera with an oven mitt and gently rotate the hot caramel around making sure to coat the sides well. Allow this to cool for 30 minutes or so.
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Now preheat the oven to 350. Before I got the KitchenAid (which I am thoroughly obsessed with) I used to simply toss all of the flan ingredients into a blender until well mixed. I have whisked the ingredients together, but now I just use the KitchenAid with the whisk attachment and let that baby run for a few minutes. You can literally dump all of the ingredients into a blender, bowl, or KitchenAid. Blend well making sure there are no yellow wisps of the egg yolk or unblended egg whites in the mix. Now place the flanera in a larger 13 x 9 pan and pour the custard mixture into the flanera. You can hear the hardened caramelized sugar cracking as the cool liquid is poured in. Fear not- that is just fine. Now place the flanera lid on and lock in place.

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Place the pan and flanera in the middle of the oven and pour water into the pan half way to make a Bain Marie or water bath. You can choose to add the water earlier, but it is difficult to hold the sloshing water bath and gently place it in the oven. Bake for one hour. You can carefully remove the flanera lid and jiggle to see if the custard has set. There should be some soft jiggle, but not a liquid center.

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Remember as the coffee flavored flan is cooling with the lid on it will continue to cook through and become more firm. Allow the Cuban coffee flan to cool on the countertop until you can handle the flanera with bare hands. Place the Cuban coffee flan in the fridge overnight. I have tried to serve this dessert within 6 hours of making it, and it was simply not cold enough. Make this dessert a day or two in advance!

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Before serving run a knife or spatula along the edges to separate it from the dish- normally as the dessert cools it will contract and separate from the sides, but it is always okay to err on the side of caution. Place a plate or your desired serving dish over the flan and invert. You will likely hear the flan separate from the bottom with a gurgling noise. Lift the dish carefully and scrape out some of the delicious caramel and pour all over on top. Pause to ooh and aah over the beautiful Cuban coffee flan you have just made, top with chocolate shavings or chocolate covered espresso beans, slice, and enjoy!

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Guava Almond Oat Bars

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Guava almond oat bars are crunchy, nutty, gooey, and perfectly sweetened with tart guava. Guava is a tropical fruit featured in Cuban cuisine from batidos (shakes), pastelitos, or served simply sliced on Cuban crackers slathered with thick cream cheese. I love eating guava marmalade drizzled over cottage cheese or swirled into plain oatmeal. My abuelos always had Cuban crackers, a bar of guava paste, and Philadelphia cream cheese in the kitchen ready for a sweetly sinful Sunday snack.

guava-bars yummy-piece

I seem to always have an abundance of Quaker Oats in my apartment. I had been religiously eating them for breakfast daily, but I’m over oatmeal for the time being, so I have to find other uses for these wholesome grains. I recently tried a local brand, Mama’s Guava Bars, whose rich, soft guava bars are made with shortbread crusts. These guava bars are seriously delicious, but I wanted something with a crunchier, nuttier, and thicker crust.

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Guava almond oat bars are warmly scented with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg complimented by a tart gooey guava center. These guava almond oat bars are the perfect treat for an afternoon snack paired with a steaming cup of café con leche and a good read.

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Guava Almond Oat Bars:

Old-Fashioned Oat Crust:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped almonds (4 ounces)
1 ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg; beaten at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

Guava Filling:
1 jar Conchita Brand Guava Marmelade
2 shells or 1/3 cup diced guava shells

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish and line with parchment paper. Mix around 11 ounces of the guava marmalade with the diced guava shells and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk. Pulse the almonds in a food processor to coarsely chop unless you bought pre-chopped almonds from the grocery store.

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Stir in the old-fashioned oats and chopped almonds. Stir in the melted butter and add the beaten room temperature egg. Lastly, add in the vanilla and your crust is complete!

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Press a little more than half of the crust into the bottom of the parchment lined baking dish. Now top the bottom layer with the guava marmalade mixture. Sprinkle the remaining crust as evenly as possible on top of the guava almond oat bars and press to form a rough top crust. Bake the guava almond oat bars for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

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Allow the guava almond oat bars to cool for at least 1 hour- 2 or more hours is ideal so they set well. You can chill the guava almond oat bars in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

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Guava Bread Pudding

Guava-in-each-bite Beautiful-Bread-Pudding

Guava bread pudding combines my two loves, bread and sweet gooey guava, and when combined they produce the most fabulous of Cuban flavors. Bread pudding is a classic comfort food: a savory dish or sweet dessert made of day-old bread and eggs with unlimited variations.

Guava bread pudding is a treat I have always thought about making, and this time I had a Cuban medianoche loaf of sweet egg bread and half a French loaf on hand. Honestly, if you are going out and buying special bread for your bread pudding then you just aren’t doing it right. Bread pudding should be made with bread that’s too stale for a sandwich and something extra you have on hand. Bread pudding is a classic comfort food and shouldn’t be fussy, so exact measurements aren’t even really necessary here either.

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I was right about to make this recipe with loads of milk when it dawned on me that evaporated milk would add some sweetness so I could go lighter on the sugar. The recipe I was looking at for guidance called for 2 cups of milk which sound like an awful lot, and I wanted to save some milk for my coffee later. Using evaporated milk for the guava bread pudding was a great call. The evaporated milk and dash of cinnamon filled the air with a warm delicious scent reminiscent of rice pudding or arroz con leche. The cinnamon softens the sweet tang of guava and ties the dish together.

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 I added little globs of whipped cream cheese to the bread pudding and gently stirred the ingredients right before popping it in the oven. Cream cheese and guava go together like eggs and bacon, and if you haven’t had the two together, you’re missing out my friend.

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Guava Bread Pudding

4 cups diced bread
1 can Carnation 2% Low-fat Evaporated Milk (12 oz)
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
Dash of cinnamon
½ cup diced guava paste (a cheese knife works best here!)
¼ cup whipped cream cheese

I used 2 cups medianoche bread diced, and 2 cups of diced french bread because that is what I had laying around the house. I added the cup of sugar and eggs to my KitchenAid Mixer and beat until incorporated on medium. Next I added the dash of salt, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, and evaporated milk. The kitchen smelled like a heavenly batch of fresh arroz con leche (at this moment I realized I needed to make arroz con leche asap for the site!).

4-eggs Kitchenaid

I beat the ingredients until there were no more yellow wisps of yolk swirling about. I made sure to grease the dish for the bread pudding very well. The little cubes of diced guava paste looked like sugary bombs that would make cleaning this dish a nightmare later, so plenty of butter for greasing was in order here.

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Toss in the diced bread cubes and pour the milk and egg mixture on top. Mix in the guava paste and dab little globs of the whipped cream cheese into the mixture. Allow the bread pudding to sit and soak for 15 minutes; stir once more and press down gently to even out the top before popping in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until set and firm. Remove from the oven and use a spatula along the edges to separate the gooey guava from the pan. Top with aluminum foil and allow the bread pudding to come to room temperature before serving.

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Guava bread pudding can be served hot or cold. I prefer mine piping hot with cool whipped cream and vanilla sauce on top. I spooned some of the easy brown sugar vanilla sauce onto the dessert plate, topped with the bread pudding, added a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and I garnished with extra crumbles of brown sugar but cinnamon would work here too. The bread pudding was sweet and decadent with pockets of guava oozing out onto the plate. If you don’t feel like making the vanilla sauce a scoop of vanilla ice cream would work perfectly with the guava bread pudding.

Spread-the-vanilla-sauce Guava-Bread-pudding

Easy Brown Sugar Vanilla Sauce

1/3 cup mix of light and dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
Dash of cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1 dash salt
1 cup whole milk added in thirds
2 teaspoons vanilla stirred in

Heat a small saucepan on low heat. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to the warm pan and whisk till mixed. Allow the sugar mixture to ‘toast’ in the pan, the cinnamon will smell like fall. Add the melted butter to pan and whisk in.

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Let the mixture bubble for a moment before slowly whisking in the milk in thirds until totally combined. Heat the sauce until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in the vanilla and pour into a sauce dish or bowl for serving. Enjoy!

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