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.
1 butternut squash, about 450 g (1 lb)
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
100 g (3½ oz) light muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp brandy (optional)
150 ml (5 fl oz) soured cream
1 tsp icing sugar, sifted
6 tbsp soured cream
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Method Prep:1hr30min › Cook:30min › Ready in:2hr
Peel the squash and cut it into chunks, discarding the seeds. Put into a medium-sized saucepan with the orange juice. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook gently for 20–25 minutes or until tender. Drain, discarding any remaining juice. Purée the squash in a food processor or blender. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the orange zest, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, brandy, if using, and soured cream. Add the puréed squash and mix well.
Pour the mixture into a 23 cm (9 in) china flan dish or pie dish. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until just set. Loosen the edges with a round-bladed knife, then leave to cool for about 1 hour or, alternatively, until completely cold.
Serve slightly warm, or cover and chill before serving. Sprinkle with a light dusting of icing sugar and accompany with extra soured cream.
Each serving provides
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.