Saturday, December 13, 2008

flan in the pan (say it so it rhymes)

la muerte

Posting my sister's[1] flan recipe here so I don't misplace it. Company's coming for dinner and I'm going to try to add some strong coffee to the mix to see if I can emulate the flan served by a hotel in Honduras where Mr. Hoo and I stayed near Copan some years back. They shoveled it out of a giant pan and it was so good I had for breakfast the next morning. Wish me luck.

First a note: It's been 15 years since I made this, and I never wrote the recipe down! But the key was milk AND cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla. This should come close. It's from the book written in 1965 called The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking, picked up at a thrift store a few years back:

Flan (Caramel Pudding)

This Spanish dessert, an immense favorite in Mexico, is made either in a large caramelized mold or in individual, caramelized custard cups, so that when the dessert is unmolded it is covered with a caramel glaze.

To caramelize the mold: In a small, heavy saucepan, over moderate heat, boil 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of water, stirring constantly until the sugar melts and turns a rich, golden brown. (note from db: do not taste the sugar. very painful. i speak from experience.)

Have ready a 6 cup mold (or 6 custard cups), warmed by standing it in hot water. Pour the caramel into the mold, turning it in all directions so that the caramel covers the bottom and sides. (note from db: I just made sure it covered the bottom, and it worked out fine.)

4 cups milk (I recommend 3 cups whole milk and 1 cup cream or half & half)

3/4 cup sugar
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Heat the milk until a film shines on top. Remove from heat, and cool.

Beat the sugar gradually into the eggs; add the milk, vanilla extract, and salt. (You can also just throw everything into the Cuisinart or blender). Mix well, and strain into caramelized mold or custard cups. (I never strained my mixture.)

Place in a pan filled with hot water that reaches half the depth of the mold; and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the custard comes out clean. The water in the pan should not boil. Cool the custard; then chill in the refrigerator.

To unmold, run a knife between the custard and the mold; then place a serving dish upside down over the mold and invert quickly. Serves 6.

[1] aka She who aspired to be a mermaid »

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