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Spanish Flan

Reviewed: Jun. 25, 2013
Cloyingly oversweet, and if I had not added baking *in bain-marie*, the texture would have been awful. I first learned to make flan during the years I lived i Spain. There, my friends used fresh whole milk, nothing canned, to make it. The two canned milk products used in this recipe make it taste of can, and that's just plain nasty. Sweetened condensed milk has the additional problem of coarsening the texture of the flan. Using the heavily sweetened milk product in addition to the full amount of sugar Spanish cooks use makes the flan taste cloying; it is not this sweet in Spain, the homeland of flan. In addition,. it is customary for Spanish cooks to add a long strip of lemon zest to the sugar before caramelizing it; they remove the lemon zest after the sugar turns a good, dark caramel. This recipe fails to tell you to bake it in a bain-marie, which ruins the texture. A flan baked in bain-marie is much smoother and less prone to forming those unpleasant little bubbles.
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Homemade Vanilla Pudding

Reviewed: Jun. 25, 2013
Easay to make and delicious. Just take great care not to asorch it. Lovely with fresh berries stirred into it and garnished with fresh French lavender leaves.
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Blini (Russian Pancakes)

Reviewed: Jun. 25, 2013
These taste just like the best blini I've enjoyed in Ukraine. I like them best Ukrainian style, filled with red caviar and rolled cigar-shaped. Also delightful filled with salt-cured or smoked salmon and a dab of sour cream, garnished with fresh dill. Any fresh or smoked fish is good in blini. Rolled or folded around any kind of fish spread is delightful. And of course, the best of all is black caviar such as ossetra or beluga, and served with icy cold vodka as a snack or appetizer. Crumbled Bulgarian feta and chopped fresh dill is a tasty budget filling. Like other reviewers, I've used lemon juice in them. I strongly object to substituting oil for butter, reducing the amount of butter, or using any kind of reduced fat milk, which affects the flavor negatively. If you want to taste Eastern Europe when you eat them, follow the directions exactly.
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