This week Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon was up to bat. She chose Caramel-Topped Flan which is listed as a spoon desert in Dorie's book.
I've had very limited experiences with flan. By that I mean I saw a flan once. I took Spanish 2 in my freshman year of high school and we'd have "parties" every Friday where we were all supposed to bring in food and our teacher was free to roam around the hallways flirting with anyone who would flirt back. We had one kid from Puerto Rico in our class and he was always bringing in a traditional food, flan being one of them. Well after watching my classmates faces after they tried the flan I decided then and there that I would never in my life put flan in my mouth.
But Dorie's picture of the flan is just so gorgeous. I couldn't not make this. So I devised a plan to have people over the day I made it in order to push it off on them. They canceled. So I was left with all the flan. That night I flipped a flan out onto a plate and sat it down between Spencer and I. We stared at it for awhile but finally gave it a try.
It was quite possibly the best dessert either of us have ever had. I had no clue it was going to basically be a custard pie without the crust. And I love me some custard pie. Spencer even told me that he wants me to make it atleast a couple times a month, maybe once a week!
The recipe was really simple and it seems to be pretty much foolproof. I suck at reading directions so I, of course, screwed up. I ended up adding the heavy cream into the egg yolks before I realized it was supposed to boil with the milk. So the milk boiled on it's own. Everything seems to be fine though. Then again, I've never tried a flan so I wouldn't know the difference.
I suggest doubling the caramel sauce, especially if you're doing individual ones. I doubled it after reading the reviews on the TWD blog and it was the perfect amount.
I did have trouble actually making the caramel. I get scared so as soon as the caramel started changing colors I took it off the heat. So it just looks like yellow goo but it was still tasty. Next time I'll face my fear.
Now you must go check out all the other yumminess. I looked at a few first thing this morning and let me tell you... it made me wish I still had some flan sitting in the fridge. But sadly, we ate it all.
from Baking : From My Home To Yours
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 teakettle 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.
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.
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