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|
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.