One of our favorite things for breakfast is cooked quinoa with apples and cinnamon. It´s not only delicious and satisfying but is also a nutritional powerhouse. We just love it; with a little honey, a bit of milk, and if you happen to have maca (fresh as a root, or in powder), you won´t believe the amount of energy that will keep you going through the morning without hunger pangs or cravings of any type.
Inspired by this wonderful combination, I created this amazing flan, or crema volteada, as we call it in Peru. It´s texture is less silky and more grainy than the usual flan (because of the cooked and blended quinoa), and it has a light apple flavor, (that you can make more intense adding apple juice to the mixture instead of water), apart from the quinoa, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Peruvians have a long term love affair with sweetened condensed milk, and our dessert repertoire has an immense amount of uses for condensed milk (Tres leches is another example).
Many cooks even use the sweet nectar in salad dressings. I have to confess that one of my favorite dishes when dining in the Chifa, (Chinese restaurant), is a shrimp and fruit salad with condensed milk dressing. Believe it or not, it´s not overly sweet, and the texture is creamy, covering the fruits and shrimps with a subtle layer of milky dressing. Amazing, as odd as it may sound! Which reminds me… this is another recipe on my list to share with you. I´m sure you will like it as much as I do.
For this flan, feel free to substitute apples with pears or pineapple. The flavor will be different and you will have a new dessert every time you make it. It´s easy and quick to make, but plan ahead so the flans can cool completely in the fridge before you unmold them, and this way they will not only taste, but also look perfect!
- Apple and quinoa flan (serves 6)
- ⅓ cup quinoa
- 1 Granny Smith apple or any other acidic apple, peeled and chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ cups water + 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can unsweetened evaporated milk
- can of the cooking liquid of the quinoa
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Cook quinoa with apple, cinnamon stick, and 1 ½ cup water, over medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft. Reserve and let cool. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid, and measure 1 cup of quinoa with apples.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- In a saucepan put sugar with 2 tablespoons water, and cook over high heat until lightly golden. Do not let it take too much color because it turns bitter.
- Turn off the heat and pour a small amount of caramel in six ramekins, or one round cake pan. Be careful because this caramel is extremely hot and may cause bad burns in the skin.
- In the blender process quinoa, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, unsweetened evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla, and ½ can of the reserved cooking liquid. Pour in the ramekins and accommodate all in a large baking pan, with at least two inches rim, because we are adding one-inch hot water, so the flans can bake in a water bath.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, take out the flans, and let them cool at room temperature. Then put them in the fridge and let them rest overnight.
- Unmold, garnish with whipped cream, fruits, and mint leaves, and serve.