About this recipe: A flan can be both a pastry-based tart and a baked custard, like a crème caramel. The flan here is the latter – a feather-light custard based on butternut squash, eggs and soured cream, fragrantly spiced and flavoured with orange. It cuts beautifully into wedges and is delicious served with more soured cream.
A * C * B12, folate, calcium, potassium
For a souffléd spiced flan, in step 2, separate the eggs and beat the yolks with the orange zest, sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, the salt and brandy, if using. Mix with the puréed squash. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then fold into the squash mixture with the soured cream. Pour into a 20–23 cm (8–9 in) ovenproof dish that is 5 cm (2 in) deep. Scatter over 30 g (1 oz) chopped pecan nuts and bake as in the main recipe, until slightly puffy and pale golden. Serve immediately, dusted with icing sugar and with the extra soured cream.
Butternut squash is a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene as indicated by the bright orange colour of the flesh. * Soured cream has a lower fat content than double or whipping cream, yet it still adds a rich taste and creamy texture. * Cinnamon is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament and during the Middle Ages was almost as popular as black pepper. Apart from its culinary use, it appears to have medicinal properties as a nasal decongestant.