Half the fun of exploring different cultures is discovering new food, flavors, and recipes. One of the highlights of our recent trip to Italy was a simple but elegant flan. Flan, a custard with creamy consistency, is typically sweet and topped with caramel. This version created by Gabriella Bianconi, owner of a small truffle farm in Umbria, is savory and thick with pecorino cheese.


Gabriella told me she gave the recipe to a visitor from France who later served it at a dinner party. After rave reviews the French woman said with a smile to her guests, “I’d give you the recipe but it’s really quite complicated.”


It’s anything but of course. Simply cheese, cream, and eggs baked until set and then served on top of fresh spinach, drizzled with balsamic reduction, and topped with shaved truffles. Delicious! We enjoyed it so much we thought we’d share the recipe with you.


Pecorino Flan

3 eggs

4-1/2 oz. pecorino cheese , very finely grated (fresh parmesan works as well)

1 c. + 1 T. heavy cream

Pepper to taste


To serve: fresh spinach, honey, balsamic reduction, and shaved truffles (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 350° F degrees.
  2. Grease six 6-oz ramekins with butter and place in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Set aside.
  3. Whisk eggs until frothy.
  4. Add cheese, cream, and pepper.
  5. Pour mixture into the ramekins.
  6. Pour boiling water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  7. Bake until set, about 40 minutes.

Remove ramekins from the hot water bath and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Invert each flan onto a bed of fresh spinach. Drizzle with local honey, balsamic reduction, and shaved truffles. Makes six servings.


Enjoy this small taste of Italy!


* Courtesy of Gabriella Bianconi.


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