Friday, March 1, 2013

Rosie Makes Tocino De Cielo.

 Regular readers will know that on a recent rainy weekend,
I made batches of chicken and beef stocks
which I magically turned into chicken and beef consommés.
A consommé is a clarified stock.
To clean up the stock and all the floating particles
from the bones and meat and vegetables and herbal supplements
used to make the stock,
one needs to use egg whites.

That means I have a ton of egg yolks I need to use up.

Waste not.
Want not.

For my first yolk foray,
I made Momofuku's Crack Pie.
I added powdered sugar, blueberries, and lime zest.
This was some serious Crack Pie.

 For my second yolkfest ...

 ...  I made a caramel flan.

Today, I'm making yet another flan;
however, this one is dairy-free.
It's called Tocino de Cielo - Bacon from Heaven.
What a beautiful name!

The first accounts of this dessert date back to 1324.
Tocino de cielo was created by nuns from
the Convent of the Holy Spirit of Jerez de la Frontera,
 in southwest Spain.

The local wineries used egg whites to clarify their wine
and they donated the yolks to the convent.
Some very resourceful Sisters created the recipe.

Tocino de Cielo
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup water
4-inch strip orange zest
4-inch strip lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
hot water, for bain Marie

In a small saucepan, cook 1/2 cup sugar over medium-low heat, until it comes to a golden caramel color.  Remove from heat and immediately divide evenly into 4 8-oz. ramikens.  Set aside.  It helps to have an extra set of hands hear to rotate the ramekins and get some of the caramel on the sides.

In another small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar with water and zests.  Bring to boil and cook until sugar reaches 225 degrees.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Remove zests and stir in vanilla.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk yolks to combine.  Whisk in cooled sugar syrup.

Pour into prepared ramekins.

Place ramekins into baking dish and carefully pour hot water about 2/3 way up.  This is called a bain Marie.  It's simply a hot water bath typically used in making custards to stabilize the heat reaching the food and maintain a constant temperature.  This keeps a crust from forming on the outside before the inside is cooked.  The term, "Mary's bath," comes from the Italian "bagno Maria," named after Maria de Cleofa, a Spanish alchemist,  who developed the technique in the 1500s in Florence.  The technique was introduced to the French courts' kitchens by the cooks of Catherine de Medici.

Combine 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon and orange strips.

Bring to a boil.

Cook until sugar syrup reaches 220-225 degrees.

Set aside to cool.
Add in vanilla.
When ready to use, remove zests.

Now, I'm ready to make my caramel sauce.
Cook 1/2 cup sugar over medium-low heat.
I shook it around every now and then.

 When it's almost all dissolved,
I helped it along with a fork.
You want this pretty amber color
and no sugar granules.

Pour into 4 1-cup ramekins.
I only had two hands here.
And I can't pour, shoot,
 and rotate the ramekins to coat the sides
all at the same time.
Another pair of hands would have helped.

I beat the cooled sugar syrup into my egg yolks.

Divide equally between 4 1-cup ramekins.

I poured boiling water 2/3 way up 
the sides of the ramekin.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 - 50 minutes,
until custards are set.

Carefully remove from water bath
and let cool to room temperature.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate
at least two hours, or until cold, before serving.

Invert to serve.
No cream or milk
was used in this.
Isn't this pretty?

The caramel syrup is acute.

I love this texture.
It's smooth and silky
and, dare I say,
I like the MOUTHFEEL.

 Did you just cringe as you read MOUTHFEEL?

The flan on the left was the first one I made.
It had the cream.
The dish on the right is the Tocino de Cielo.
In a blind test,
both Mr. and Mid Hawthornes,
picked out which dessert had the cream in it.
Both were wonderful.
One was just richer than the other.
Middle Hawthorne said of the tocino de cielo.
"I could keep eating that one.  A lot of it.
The other one I could only take a few bites of."
If you notice the plates,
we were having a hard time
eating these flans and trying to compare and contrast.
We went from one flan to the other.
Trying to ascertain the different qualities of each.
I was the spooner.
Mr. Hawthorne was the forker.
I want as much of that syrup as I could possibly get.
 Bottom line:
 More research is necessary.

Would you believe I still have one more batch of yolks?

I think I'm going with crème brûlée,
unless anyone wants to request something else.
Rosie is always open to suggestions.
Rosie LOVES suggestions.

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