As we gallop towards Thanksgiving, food bloggers, magazines, grocery stores, and Martha all bubble over with ideas for the table you'll be setting on November 26th. And so are we at FN Dish, the Food Network's blog. For this week's #Fallfest, we're digging up carrots by the truckload to make dishes for you to share with your friends and family this year.
I'll be honest, right up front. I don't eat a lot of carrots. Don't get me wrong — I add them to lentils and other legume dishes, and throw them into soups and chili. Carrot cake is one of my all-time favorite desserts – seriously, I would choose carrot cake over chocolate any day of the week, especially if it's topped with a cloud of cream cheese frosting. But carrots straight up, a cappella? Not so much.
In fact the last time I posted a carrot dish was for the Food Network folks LAST Thanksgiving. I need to change my ways, clearly, so I'm glad my blogger buddies have a bunch for us all to choose from.
As for me, I wanted to make some individual ramekins of savory carrot flan for you. You can use them as a sweetish side dish, or a not-so-sweet dessert. They're super easy, and can be made ahead. Once they cool from the oven, cover the ramekins with plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just rewarm at the last minute and flip out onto a serving plate.
I should warn you, this is not your traditional custardy flan. I nixed ALL the heavy cream in favor of 2% low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat ricotta cheese and a little Half and Half, which gives you more of a texture of a purée, than of custard. I added a flourish of nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom, but you can use whatever autumn-y spices you prefer. Cinnamon is another winner, obvi.
To ensure an easy flipping out of the flans from the ramekins, butter them and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Remember to butter the parchment paper too. Another approach that works: while the flans are still warm, run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins and gently jiggle them to loosen the bottoms. Flip out onto a plate.
Light Carrot Flan
- 14 ounces peeled and sliced carrots
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt I used Fage 2% fat
- 1/4 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
- 3 Tbsp Half & Half
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp maple syrup divided
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg plus more for a final dusting
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Simmer the carrots in water in a pot over medium-high heat until tender.
- Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, ricotta cheese, Half & Half, Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup and the salt in a medium bowl. Pour into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade or a blender, add the carrots, and puree until very smooth.
- Stir in the spices to taste.
- Butter 1/2 cup ramekins, and spoon in the carrot batter. Place them in a large baking pan and fill the pan with water 2/3 of the way up the ramekins.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the water and sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge, shake the ramekin a bit to loosen from the bottom, drizzle each ramekin with 1 tsp maple syrup, and flip out onto a plate.
- Dust the tops with a very small pinch of nutmeg before serving.