White Chocolate Flan
1 small dried pasilla chili pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
3 ounces white chocolate baking squares, coarsely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Passion Fruit Cream (see below)
Edible flower petals* (optional)
1. Remove stem and seeds from pepper and discard.
Place pepper in a food processor bowl or blender container.
Cover; process or blend until ground.
2. In a heavy medium saucepan combine milk, chocolate, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the nutmeg. Cook over medium heat just to boiling. Remove from heat; set aside for 15 minutes or until slightly cool.
3. To caramelize remaining sugar, in a heavy 8-inch skillet cook sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt.
Shake skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir.
Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes more or until all of the sugar is melted and golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon.
Immediately divide caramelized sugar among four 6-ounce custard cups; tilt cups to coat bottoms evenly.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
4. In a large mixing bowl slowly stir chocolate mixture into beaten eggs.
Stir in ground pepper and vanilla. Beat until combined, but not foamy.
Place custard cups in a 2-quart square baking dish and place on an oven rack.
Divide the chocolate mixture evenly among custard cups.
5. Pour boiling water into the baking dish around custard cups to a depth of 1 inch.
Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near centers comes out clean.
Remove flans from baking dish; cool on a wire rack.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
6. To unmold flans, loosen edges with a knife, slipping the point of the knife down the sides. Invert a dessert plate over each flan; turn cup and plate over together.
Spoon Passion Fruit Cream on top.
If desired, garnish with edible flower petals. Makes 4 servings.
7. Passion Fruit Cream: Halve 3 passion fruit; press though a fine sieve.
In a chilled bowl beat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon sugar until soft peaks form. Slowly whisk in strained passion fruit pulp and juice or 2 tablespoons purchased passion fruit pulp. (If desired, substitute 2 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed, for the passion fruit.)
*Note: Edible flowers can be purchased at many supermarkets. If picking wild edible flowers, make sure they are chemical-free.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and bake custards as above. Cool, then cover and chill in the refigerator for up to 8 hours. Serve as directed.