This sweet, rich and creamy dessert is part flan, part cake, and is appropriate for any occasion. Once it is flipped over and unmolded, the sweet burn sugar caramel sauce is on top and runs down the sides. The upper portion is a thick home-made flan, while the lower portion is where the coconut collects is light and fluffy. It is a simple recipe, ready in under an hour, and goes well with a cup of strong coffee or a snifter of warm Spanish brandy.
For centuries nuns in Spain were responsible for feeding the poor, and often caring for the local sick, as well as pilgrims (on the Way of St. James). Many lived a cloistered life behind monastery or convent walls, with little or no contact with the outside world. In order to earn money to support themselves and care for the poor, they sold cookies and pastries. Some of the monastery's pastries became well known regionally. Many orders of nuns continue to prepare and sell sweet delicacies to support themselves.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for caramelized sugar sauce)
- 8 large eggs
- 3 1/2 oz (100 g) granulated sugar
- 8 oz (250 g) shredded coconut
- 8 oz (236 ml) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
Put a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds to heat up. Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. With the back of a wooden spoon, keep sugar moving constantly in skillet until sugar is completely melted, and of a rich medium brown color (caramelized).
Carefully spoon or pour caramelized sugar into a glass cake pan, or other large open glass dish. Grease the rest of the dish or bowl with vegetable shortening or butter.
Heat the oven to 340F (170C) degrees.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites, placing each in a medium glass mixing bowl. Using an electric beater, beginning to whip egg whites slowly. When they are foamy, increase to maximum speed of the beater. Whip until whites form a soft peak, then add the granulated sugar. Whip until egg whites form stiff peaks.
Lightly beat the egg yolks. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the yolks into the whites. Stir while pouring in the condensed milk, then the regular milk and shredded coconut.
Pour the batter into a mold or bowl with the caramelized sugar, and place into a water bath. Bake in oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. (The deeper the dish, the longer the tart will need to bake.)
Remove from oven and water bath. Allow to cool on counter. Unmold to serve.
The recipe above was inspired by a recipe from the book "Los Dulces de las Monjas" by Sor Maria Isabel from the Monasterio de Nuestra Senora del Rosario de Daroca (Zaragoza, Spain), and distributed through a "Caja de Ahorros" (Savings and Loan) in Burgos in 2000.