Sweet caramel, deliciousness. That’s what I think of when I think of flan. I have no idea when I 1st had flan but what I do know is that I like it so much I’ll eat anyone’s flan. Yes, even the over processed version of this custard that comes in plastic cup. I’ll admit it, it’s one of my weaknesses. The nerd in me wondered, how is this a Latin American dish? Custard makes me think of Europe. And what do you know? Flan is from Europe. Originally Rome, then eventually it made its way to Spain (with some alterations). The European version is more savory dish where as the Latin American version is sweet and filled with local flavors like coffee. It’s the Spanish version I like because this version is topped with caramel. Yum.
But I digress. This dessert is one of my favorites not just because it’s sweet but because it reminds me of my childhood. There wasn’t a bodega in the neighborhood you couldn’t get a flan from. One of the most important aspects of it is its smooth texture. A good flan has a silky smooth texture and the caramel is sweet without making your teeth hurt.
Of course, that is the hard part. Mixing the eggs and milk just enough and not to much. My tip, do not overheat the pan when making the caramel (and don’t taste it before it cools). Patience is not one of my virtues and I can not tell you how many times I’ve had to remake caramel (or how many times I’ve burnt my tongue). It took me a very long time to learn that low and slow is really the best method. Especially with desserts.
We’ve always had access to flan whether homemade or store bought so I never really thought about making it myself. Of course, things change and I realized I needed to learn to make it just for my own edification. After all, if I could make creme brûlée, I could make flan. Right? So then it was just like … let’s do this!
Makes 8 – 10 servings
- 4 eggs
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons of water
Tools: large roasting pan, saucepan and 6 ramekins or glass baking dish.
Update: Sieve – run completed mixture through a sieve for smoother texture.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Pour 1 cup of sugar and water in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Don’t walk away. Stir, stir, stir.
- Once you’ve achieved a brown caramel, remove the pan from heat. Quickly pour the caramel into ramekins or
- Tilt and swirl caramel so that all parts are covered
- In a bowl whisk or blend together eggs.
- Mix in sweet condensed and evaporate milk slowly. Add sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt.
- Strain through a sieve (helps to get rid of bubbles).
- Place ramekins or large glass baking dish filled with 2 inches of water.
- Pour milk and egg mixture in ramekins/dish on top of caramel.
- Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath .
- Gently check center of flan with knife. If it comes out clean it’s done.
- Remove from oven and let flan cool. Then place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Run a knife or spatula around the edge of the flan to make it easier to remove.
- Invert on to a plate, caramel sauce will flow over custard.
So much better than store bought!! Place extra flan in the fridge covered with plastic, though it probably will be gone within 2 days.