Chef Greg Atkinson of Marché on Bainbridge Island in Winslow, Wash. goes beyond the traditional flan, infusing the dessert with seasonal offerings. His fall flan marries heavy cream and eggs with Kobocha squash, known as the Japanese pumpkin, topped off with pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil.
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. kabocha, squash, about 1/2 of a med. squash
1/2 med. white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
6 tsp. pumpkin seed oil
- Preheat oven to 375° F. and butter six 4-ounce ramekins or glass custard cups. Place cups in a baking dish that will comfortably hold all of them and reserve.
- Cut squash into disks or wedges and scrape out seeds, then cut away peel. Cut squash into 1-in. dice. You should have about 2 1/2 cups diced squash.
- In large skillet or saucepan, melt remaining butter over med.-high heat. Cook onion 5 min., or until tender and golden brown, stirring often. Add cream and squash; bring mixture to a boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for 15 min., or until squash is tender.
- In blender or food processor, pulse eggs with salt. Add squash mixture; cover top of machine with a kitchen towel. Process using short pulses at first so that hot mixture does not overflow; pulse until smooth.
- Evenly distribute squash mixture in prepared ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking dish around ramekins until it reaches halfway up the sides of ramekins; cover baking dish with buttered baker's parchment and aluminum foil. Bake until custard is set and no longer jiggles when ramekins are tapped, about 25 min. Remove custards from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
- Serve flans at once, or keep them warm in a 200° F. oven for up to 1 hr. Or refrigerate and reheat as needed.
- To serve, loosen edges of custards with a spatula or knife, slipping the point of the spatula down the sides of the ramekins to let in enough air to release the custards. Invert custards onto plates and serve hot garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil.