|Flan is one of those things that, on the surface of it, seems like it would be hard to make – but in reality, it’s very easy! My recipe is a compilation of several print and online recipes that I’ve perfected over the years.
Let’s start out by talking about what flan is: at its most basic, it’s a Mexican custard, borrowed from Spanish custard – and virtually every region has its own version of this delicious dessert, crème brûlée probably being the most widely known. One of the differences between flan and crème brûlée is that flan has the caramel topping already in place when it’s baking – crème brûlée has a sugar topping that is caramelized with a propane torch just before serving. I opt for flan – because I’m not allowed to use a torch inside the house when my wife isn’t at home. It’s a long story, but a good one…
Another nice thing about this flan is you can make it in several different flavor configurations – if you like lime, use a bit of frozen limeade concentrate and some lime zest. Same idea if you like lemon or orange.
Prep notes aren’t too lengthy (I hope) – I recommend using C&H® Baker’s Sugar for melting – its superfine granules melt much faster and more fully than standard granulated sugar. Stir it constantly with a whisk, and watch that you don’t use too much heat – it will liquefy to the consistency of water, and when you get a light to medium amber color, you’re done.
I don’t have a special flan mold, so I use a glass pie pan with very good results. You should do the same. The pie pan sits inside a larger pan filled with about an inch of boiling water – for the larger pan, I use a disposable aluminum lasagna pan – you can also use an oven-safe skillet just as well. Just make sure that when you add the water before baking, it’s at a full rolling boil when you take it off the stove top.
You can use a mixer at high speed for mixing, but I prefer a blender – it’s quicker and doesn’t splash all over the counter. My Ninja® knocks it out in less than a minute.
You’re making the flan upside-down, of course – just before serving, run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen. Then place a plate over the pan and flip the whole works over. There you have it – a right-side-up hunk ‘o’ flan with the caramel on top!
Have fun with this one, guys…
|1-1/4 cup||Granulated sugar|
|1 cup||Whole milk|
|1-1/4 cup||Heavy cream|
|1 14 oz. can||Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk|
|3||Whole large eggs|
|3 Tbs||Pure vanilla extract|
|1||Vanilla bean (optional)|
|In a medium pan over medium heat, heat sugar, stirring constantly with a whisk, until just melted and it turns a light amber color (usually about 8 minutes). Pour melted sugar into pie pan or flan mold. Allow to cool till just slightly warm.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°, and start a pan of water heating to a boil.
Add milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and cornstarch to blender; pulse until well-blended. If using vanilla bean, slice it lengthwise, scrape out seeds, and add seeds to mixture. Reserve scraped-out bean for top garnish on the finished product. Add heavy cream, and pulse only until incorporated into mixture. Pour into pie pan.
Carefully lift filled pie pan into a larger skillet or container; place on center rack of oven and carefully pour in boiling water until it comes up halfway on the side of the pie pan. Take care not to splash any water into your flan mixture!
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until top (actually the bottom) of flan is a very light golden brown. The flan should still be wiggly and jiggly at this point. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on a cooling rack until barely warm. Transfer pan to the fridge and chill until thoroughly cold, about 4 hours.
To plate the flan, run a thin sharp knife around the perimeter of the flan to loosen. Cover with a plate and flip over. The flan will come out onto the serving plate, and the gooey caramel syrup will cover the top and sides. Slice in generous pieces, and serve. Flan will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days if covered with plastic wrap. Don’t attempt to freeze it – it doesn’t work.