Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Un postre para Cinco de Mayo: Flan

Flan is probably the most familiar traditional Mexican dessert. Fans of French food would call Flan creme caramel (assuming their tongue doesn't get twisted on that sentence) and is a vanilla custard that is baked with its own caramel sauce. And unless my math is way wrong, this is not a terribly high calorie dessert (see note at the end).

I adapted this recipe from an old cookbook to make 6 individual desserts instead of one larger one and it is pretty easy and goes together fast. Well, not counting mastering the can opener. Yes, I'm a blonde. I can manage baking with a water bath but opening a can without electricity is beyond me. Go figure.

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 13-oz evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla**
  • dash salt
  1. Arrange 6 4-6oz custard cups (or ramekins if you're feeling extra-fancy) in a 9x13 baking pan and preheat the oven to 350. Set a teakettle to boil water. Or a medium-sized sauce pan when  you remember that you don't actually own a tea kettle (2 electric mixers, 3 sizes of muffin tins, about 20 cake pans, yes. Tea kettle, no. Logical explanation? No clue.).
  2. In a small sauce pan, cook the 1/3 cup sugar over medium heat until it melts. It will look like powder for what seems like forever and then all of a sudden you look away (and, you know, try to open the evaporated milk) and it is magically transformed into caramel.
  3. Distribute the caramel among the custard cups. it should just cover the bottoms of each.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt with either a whisk or a mixer until well blended.
  5. Ladle the custard over the caramel in each cup through a fine-mesh strainer. The strainer will catch the odd jiggly bits of the eggs and any stray bits of vanilla bean. You could skip this, but who wants jiggly bits in their flan anyway.
  6. Place the 9x13 pan holding the custard cups on the center rack of the oven. Pour boiling water into the 9x13 pan but outside the cups (being really careful not to pour it INTO the custard cups...don't ask me why I mention that...I think I need to shop for a tea kettle).
  7. Bake about 40 minutes or until the custard is about as firm as jello when shook. Remove them from the water bath and cool.
  8. To serve, run a knife around the outside edge of each flan to loosen it. Invert on a plate allowing the caramel sauce to run over the top.
*Caloric math: By reading the nutrition facts on each of the ingredients, I get the following: evaporated milk (480) + 2 eggs (70 each) + 1/4 cup sugar (193) + 1/3 cup sugar (255) = 1068 for the whole batch. Divide by 6 and it's 178 calories per serving.

**My bottle looks suspiciously like Penzey's Mexican Vanilla, which I vastly prefer over anything from the supermarket (don't even talk to me about "imitation" vanilla), or even Penzey's own Madagascar vanilla (Yep, there's a difference. Go smell them). But I'll tell you a secret:  my vanilla is homemade. That, I suppose, is a post for another day.


Anonymous said...

My husband loves flan... thank you for sharing!


We are hosting a "Mexican Dishes" linky party, come by and link up this fabulous recipe!