Miso-Pumpkin Flan

Miso-Pumpkin Flan

Don't be daunted by the addition of miso.  It adds a gently salty, almost caramelized quality that enshrouds the entire affair in mystery.  Lighter and airier than most Thanksgiving desserts, this is a wonderful pie alternative for rebelliously nontraditional bakers.  
 

Ingredients:

      Preparation

      1. For the caramel: In a heavy saucepan, mix ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup water. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until just bubbling. Continue to cook without stirring until the caramel is amber in color, 12-15 minutes.
      2. Moving quickly, pour caramel into a 2-quart oven-safe round baking dish and turn the bowl so the caramel coats the sides.
      3. For the flan: In another saucepan, combine remaining sugar, cinnamon, miso, milk, and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
      4. Heat oven to 350F. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl.  Whisk in vanilla, spices, salt and winter squash purée. Add cooled cream mixture and whisk well.
      5. Strain the custard mixture through a mesh sieve and into a separate bowl.  Pour the strained mixture into the dish with the caramel.
      6. Place the bowl with the custard into a larger baking dish or deep pan.  Add warm water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the flan dish. Cover the flan dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
      7. Remove the foil and bake for another 45-60 minutes, or until flan is just set in the middle.
      8. Remove flan from water bath and let cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, refrigerate until well-chilled (you can chill it overnight, if desired).
      9. To serve: run a knife around the edges of the flan, then put a serving platter on top of the bowl and invert. The flan should transfer easily onto the serving platter, and the caramel sauce should be fairly liquid at its base. 
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