Monday, March 24, 2008

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Abuela Would Be Proud!

I recently joined Tuesdays With Dorie which is a baking group that bakes their way through Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. They make a different recipe each week and I picked the perfect week to join because this week's recipe was a flan. Thanks to Steph from A Whisk and a Spoon for making the selection!

I was never a fan of flan. In fact, I wasn't much of a fan of custard desserts. But then I met this wonderful little lady who made the best flan ever. She made it with love and even mixed it up by adding cream cheese (my favorite!). Then I married her grandson and vowed to never make flan. I just didn't want to compete. Truth be told, when it comes to Abuela I like to lay low. That little lady can get feisty! I remember our dating days and baking a cake to impress Alex's family. I thought I was going to throw up as Abuela cut herself a piece of my cake. Then I thought I was going to pass out as the spoonful of cake was on its way to her mouth. Then I wished that I could disappear as the cake was in her mouth. Then she opened her mouth to speak. Dear Lord, please let oxygen rush back into my lungs. She liked it! Success! Even with that one moment of success it still freaks me out to make anything and have her taste it. I find comfort in knowing that I must be doing something right, her grandson has maintained a healthy weight since living off of my food. I'm sure if Alex could post here, he'd say I'm making him fat with all the sweets I make. (By the way, Alex if you read this, you are perfection!)

Back to the flan. Because of how intimidated I am of Abuela's great flan I have always been afraid to make it. This week's pick of flan has caused me to face my fear. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was actually good! It didn't taste like Abuela's (this recipe has a strong vanilla flavor), but I'd say it was a good introduction to flan making. Now just don't ask me to make this for Abuela ;-)

Caramel Topped Flan
Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Makes one 8x2 flan (I used a 9x2 cake pan).

For the caramel: (I doubled this)
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:
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a roasting pan or 9x13 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 heat.
2. Put a metal 8x2 round cake pan– not a nonstick one– in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel. (All I had was a nonstick pan and it came out fine)

To Make the Caramel:
1. 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.
2. 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:
1. Bring the milk and heavy cream just to a boil.
2. 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.
3. 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. (Small, individual molds will take less time– start checking for doneness around the 25-minute mark).
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Enjoy!!

Freshly Flipped

Look at all that caramel, sugary goodness.

What a pretty slice.

Go ahead. Don't resist the urge to lick your computer screen.

And this is the lady that instilled flan-fear in me.


CB said...

Way to face your fear! Flan looks awesome.
Clara @ I♥food4thoughtstw

Annemarie said...

Your flan looks delicious! I love the story that goes along with it! Hilarious! Good job!!

noskos said...

That looks beautiful! Great story BTW!

Mary Ann said...

Your flan looks really good!

Marie said...

Your flan looks really good. I was facing my fears with this one too! Caramel is my nemisis!

Dianne's Dishes said...

It looks fabulous! And Abuela is adorable! :)

Rebecca said...

Way to go! Great story, and gorgeous pics.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Good job! I know all about having to compete with family recipes!

Melissa said...

Love the background story! Looks great!

Heather said...

Your caramel looks soo good! I wish I would have had that much!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for all the compliments!

Claudia said...

A delicious flan and a nice story!

The Frosted Bake Shop said...

your flan looks great. what a cute story.

cruisingkitty said...

Food and memories! They just go together! Great story and your flan aint too shabby either!

Rachel said...

Great job!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Adorable story! There is nothing like Abuela cooking! Glad your flan came out well!

Jaime said...

good job - the slice looks perfect! great pics :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Hey, I am new to these parts. Better had say hi.

See ya! :) and Thank you

(sorry if the wrong thread to post)