Week 37: Candy Cap Mushrooms

Recently, Russ and I visited Portland, where we went to an amazing farmer’s market. Uh-mazing. We’re talkin’ tables as far as the eye could see, piled high with perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes, fragrant herbs, colorful bell peppers, and row upon row of luscious berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries (my favorites).

There was every type of meat you could imagine (yak, anyone?), fresh eggs, and an endless variety of other delicious food items, including a mushroom vendor. We made a beeline to Misty Mountain Mushrooms, where we discovered a fantastic variety of fresh mushrooms. We couldn’t get any since we didn’t have access to a kitchen, but lucky for us they also had a nice selection of dried mushrooms, including candy caps. Russ was immediately excited, but I was clueless; I’d never heard of them.

Turns out candy cap mushrooms are used to flavor sweet dishes and smell just like maple syrup (and I gotta tell you, the smell is quite pungent when they’re dried). Apparently they grow in the San Francisco Bay Area, not far from where I live, and in other parts of the West coast. After debating for several days, I chose to make a flan with these sweet fungi. Steep them in some heavy cream and whole milk, add in some eggs and sugar, and you get this…

Sweet, creamy, smooth custard, coated in caramel syrup with hints of maple. And while that may sound painfully sweet, since candy caps were used for flavoring rather than maple syrup, the flan is well balanced.

Begin making this dessert at least one day before you want to serve it and up to a couple of days ahead if you want.

Candy Cap Flan

Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet

Yields 4 servings

You will need 4 4-oz. ramekins and a small baking dish 2 inches deep

  • 1/4 oz. dried candy cap mushrooms
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1/4 C sugar, divided
  • 2 T water
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • A pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine dried candy caps with milk, cream and 1/8 cup of sugar. Cook until the mixture begins to steam and bubbles form on the sides of the pan. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for around 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prep the ramekins. Pour the 2 tablespoons of water into another small saucepan. Add the sugar to the water and bring to a boil without stirring. Tilt the pan if necessary to ensure that sugar browns evenly. When it reaches a medium amber color, remove from heat and pour into the bottoms of the ramekins immediately. Tilt the ramekins to evenly coat the bottom and place in baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks, salt and 1/8 cup of sugar. Place the bowl on a damp towel and heat the saucepan of milk, cream and mushrooms back up to 180ºF. Very slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking quickly and without stopping. Strain everything through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl or pitcher.

Evenly pour the custard mixture into the ramekins. Fill baking pan with hot water that reaches 2/3 way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminum foil punctured with holes. Bake for around 40-50 minutes, or until the flan has a slight jiggle (not runny, liquid-y or bubbling along the sides).

Once cooled, remove from water bath and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. To remove from ramekins after refrigeration, place ramekin in a small bowl of hot water. Loosen the sides of the flan with your fingers or a knife and turn over onto a plate. Shake a few times to slide flan out.

13 Comments on Week 37: Candy Cap Mushrooms

  1. Dani
    September 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm (5 years ago)

    Freaking awesome! Now you are cooking with things I haven’t even heard of yet. I want to go mushroom foraging!

    • Stephanie
      September 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm (5 years ago)

      Me too! Apparently these are easy to find in the bay area. Someday I want to try foraging.

  2. Monet
    September 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm (5 years ago)

    What an unusual recipe! I am going to have to get my hands on some of those candy cap mushrooms. They sound so delicious and so different from what I’ve experienced in the past. I loved the photos of the market too! Nothing like veggies to brighten my day!

    • Stephanie
      September 15, 2010 at 11:38 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks Monet! They are hard to find but totally worth the effort!

  3. Priscilla - She's Cookin'
    September 15, 2010 at 9:50 am (5 years ago)

    I wish my local farmers market had that kind of selection! You would think Huntington Beach would have a better one…. What a unique mushroom – love mushrooms, but have never had one of these. Congrats on the Top 9!

    • Stephanie
      September 15, 2010 at 11:38 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks Priscilla! I know, I thought my farmer’s market was pretty good, but this one blew me away. It was amazing!

  4. Marisa
    September 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm (5 years ago)

    So cool! Who would have thought that a mushroom would work so well in such a lovely sweet flan? That farmers market really does sound amazing.

    • Stephanie
      September 16, 2010 at 7:20 am (5 years ago)

      Right? It’s so weird yet it was totally delicious! It was hard to imagine that the recipe contained dried mushrooms.

  5. Debbie
    September 16, 2010 at 7:12 am (5 years ago)

    how different is this???
    ingenious! love flan – unbelievably creative!


    • Stephanie
      September 16, 2010 at 7:20 am (5 years ago)

      Thanks Debbie! It’s very out of the box but really a great recipe!

  6. Stef
    October 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm (5 years ago)

    I was googling candy cap since I am making candy cap cupcakes this week and came upon this post. I read your blog so I was surprised that I had missed it. The flan sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to try baking with the candy cap.


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Week 37: Candy Cap Mushrooms

  1. […] tried everything from colorful dragon fruit to mushrooms that taste like maple syrup (you can see all 52+ adventures by visiting the “kitchen adventure” category). While […]

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