Posted June 30, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Ode to Flan

First food in days and you know what I go for? Flan. That’s right, flan. The nieghbor dropped off some of her mother’s flan on Monday and even though I waited longer then I normally would have to enjoy the flan, it was damn tasty. I’ve never quite appreciated flan for it’s carmelly goodness, but that could be attributed to the fact that I’ve never had good flan. Nieghbors mom has been visiting since last week all the way from the Domican Republic, I believe. The wife had given the neighbor some of her famous oatmeal cookies a while back and in return she promised us some of her mother’s famous flan and boy oh boy did she deliver. Nothing says welcome back to the eating world like flan.

A Bad Picture of Good Flan

What is flan?

Google says: Flan is used in Spanish and Mexican cooking to describe an egg custard that is baked in a large shallow dish, and flavored with caramel. The dish is inverted when served and the excess caramel is used as a sauce for the flan. The flan may be flavored with orange, anise, cinnamon, or liqueur. [Spanish] traditional Mexican and Southwestern baked caramel custard dessert.

Now how do you make flan? Better yet, how do you make the perfect flan?

The Perfect Flan

  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large yolks
  • 7 tablespoons sugar

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Combine cream, milk and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream mixture; add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in another heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Quickly pour caramel into six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Using oven mitts as aid, immediately tilt each ramekin to coat sides. Set ramekins into 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Whisk eggs, egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl just until blended. Gradually and gently whisk cream mixture into egg mixture without creating lots of foam. Pour custard through small sieve into prepared ramekins, dividing evenly (mixture will fill ramekins). Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

Bake until centers of flans are gently set, about 40 minutes. Transfer flans to rack and cool. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)

To serve, run small sharp knife around flan to loosen. Turn over onto plate. Shake gently to release flan. Carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over flan. Repeat with remaining flans and serve.

Serves 6.
Bon Appétit
May 1992

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog