Monday, May 16, 2011

I made flan!

Ever since I met him, my dear husband has spoken very fondly of flan. Perhaps it has something to do with the associated memories of a trip he took to Mexico with his family when he was a teenager.

Until this moment, when I was looking for a link to post, I didn't realize that flan is just the word Mexicans and some others use for crème caramel. Perhaps because we have so many Hispanics in California, I always assumed it originated in Latin America.

I'd never tried to make anything of this sort fancier than cup custard, from milk and eggs. But recently B. came home from work with a recipe gleaned from the many Filipina women he works with, and when we were next at the market together we bought the main ingredients, in three cans.

Before removing from baking dishes
I did some more research before attempting to make this dessert. It was the sugar-melting-to-caramel that was new and frightening to me. The cans sat on my counter for a couple of weeks until I could also lay in a supply of eggs and find myself with time to cook on this rainy and cold day.

There are so many family recipes out there, and so much advice about techniques, I think I'll just post the ingredients I used, which were pretty much according to one of the "Mexican Flan" recipes. I noticed disagreement about whether to stir or not stir the sugar when it is caramelizing; I stirred. I ended up filling one small pie plate and four ramekins with the quantity I made, which, by the way, would not fit at one time into my blender. I used:

1 cup sugar for the caramel
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned Nestle Media Crema (Mexican food aisle)

I thought the finished custard should be smoother on the sides. One has to run a knife along the sides to loosen the custard before turning it out on a plate, and that seems to rough it up a bit. Maybe a ramekin is not the best shape of baking dish? Also, a lot of the caramel stayed in the bottom of the ramekins as hard as candy, so you don't see the flan sitting in a puddle of the syrup. That's o.k. There was plenty of sweet stuff on the top. I haven't turned the pie plate out yet to see if it is smoother.

The caramel wasn't difficult. I was sure I would burn it or spill it when B. came into the kitchen and started asking me a stream of questions at the crucial moment, but it survived even that distraction.

I baked the custards for about 40 minutes. I ate mine when it was still a little warm, but firm, and it was one of the best flans I've ever eaten. It wasn't watery as they sometimes are.  B. also pronounced it Very Good.


Harmony said...

Oh, that looks yummy. Did you really just melt the sugar by itself? That is scary to me too. The recipe I use has you start off with some corn syrup, which it says is fool-proof... but you would do it the authentic way!

Pom Pom said...

Yum! Your flan is beautiful and I can almost taste it, looking at the pretty pictures!

Marfa said...

I'm pretty sure made it once...I love custard. I just don't make it that often. I have been making more butter is a friend's birthday and we'll see her after my daughter's piano lesson!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

That is some beautiful flan you've got there! So glad it was delicious as well as pretty!


M.K. said...

Beautiful! I've always been afraid of flan too, and never made it. But it's gorgeous. It looks perfect to me, and I'm sure your husband appreciated that kindness :) I didn't know it's Mexican -- I thought it was European, French or Danish or something! Thanks for an interesting post.

GretchenJoanna said...

M.K., I always assumed it was mainly Mexican, but that is because one eats it in Mexican restaurants here. It originated in Europe and the word flan has a French origin through old German. You can read all about it on the Wikipedia page I linked to. ;-)

DebD said...

another custard lover here too. Yours looks deliciously yummy.

Gumbo Lily said...

Oh it's beautiful!
I'd love a bite.


Sarah said...

Oh, looks so good! I'm guessing you will be making flan again! :-) I know P will want me to make it too!

Anita said...

It looks like it turned out perfect, and is so pretty. This is one of those recipes that I always wanted to try "one of these days."
Thank you for sharing your recipe.

margaret said...

Flan here means a savoury tart so I did a double take when I saw the photo. Looks yummy though.

wayside wanderer said...

Oh, yum! It looks perfect!