Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TWD: Caramel Topped Flan

In college, I minored in Spanish (actually I had 3 minors, but that's another story). I wanted to finish up the minor before my junior year (to work on the other two), and I got the opportunity to study abroad in Spain over the summer to complete that goal. I spent one month there, studying in Salamanca but traveling much more of the country, and it was nothing short of amazing. On one excursion, we traveled to northern Spain, the part that sticks out over Portugal. It was there that I had my first taste of flan. And really, that's all I had - one taste. I didn't like it! Give me pudding - awesome. Give me jello - great. Give me pudding that wants to be jello? No thanks! (I know, pudding and custard aren't even close, but that's what it looks like!) It's definitely a texture thing for me.

Nevertheless, still guilty after skipping out on last week's recipe, I decided to give flan one more try (plus, caramelizing is fun!). I cut each recipe down by 1/3, and it worked out perfectly for two small ramekins. I'm happy to say that there were no major disasters this time around! I was moderately slopping with the unmolding, but I made these on Easter Sunday when I was also juggling a turkey and all the stuff that goes with it. (No, no ham in our house. My husband won't eat it!)

I must say, even with my dislike for flan, this recipe was so good, even I could see its potential. I *almost* liked it. Which is saying a lot. :-)

Caramel Topped Flan
Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon
See more TWD bakers here!

For the Caramel
~1/3 cup sugar
~3 tbsp water
~squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the Flan
~1-1/2 cups heavy cream
~1-1/4 cups whole milk
~3 large eggs
~2 large egg yolks
~1/2 cup sugar
~1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a tea kettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

To Make the Caramel:
Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.

To Make the Flan:
Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.

Ready for the oven!

Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don't worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Cooling... amongst the corn muffins

When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings


  1. Brave that you still made it even though you don't care for it! It looks yummy and your pictures are great!!

  2. I love the sheen on the last photo. Looks perfect!

  3. I applaud you for making it even if you didn't think you were going to like it. Your baby flan's look fantastic!

  4. Glad that you *almost* liked it. You said it best, a pudding that wants to be jello! Ha!

  5. It looks great! I think flan is one of those things that you either like or you don't. It's a consistency thing. I still haven't tried it (I got busy this week and didn't get around to making it), but I want to one day.

  6. It looks yummy! Good job on making it when you already know how you feel about it!

  7. Pudding that wants to be jello! haha. "almost" is better than nothing right? Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  8. Looks great! Wonderful pictures!

  9. These photos are gorgeous, especially the first one. Nice work!

  10. Looks wonderful, and kudos for making it even when you didn't think you'd like it!

  11. I agree with the "almost" liking it! I think a lot of us compared it to jello and pudding.

  12. Good on you for trying a recipe that you're not really fond of! They look delicious!

  13. Looks great. At least you tried it right!