See what happens when you skip a week and try to catch up? I’m posting this a day late but I’m happy I was able to get the recipe made on Tuesday, even if I didn’t start the flan until 6pm and it didn’t go in the fridge to chill until 7:30pm. Oh well…I’m all caught up now and won’t make the mistake again of falling behind.
Anyway…this week’s TWD recipe was chosen by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. Great choice Steph!! Flan…another new one for me. Never made it. Never tasted it. This group is really opening my eyes up to a whole new world of food! This is the first “spoon dessert” that has been chosen from Dorie’s book and it was the first of many; in the next few years, we’ll be tackling puddings, pots de creme, custards, bread pudding, crisps and cobblers, and the list goes on so needless to say, this was probably one of the more frightening ones for me. I’m now passed my fear of tempering eggs thanks to the pastry cream in last week’s Brioche Raisin Snails, but being that I’ve never tasted flan and don’t remember the last time I ate custard…and the thought of making caramel makes me want to run away…I was apprehensive and put off the recipe until the last day.
I buckled down in the kitchen last night as soon as I returned from work happy that Kyle was at a class for work. The kitchen was mine with no one hanging over me or bitching about the noise…heaven! I’ve come to love how Dorie explicitly explains each step of her recipes because I know that by doing everything in the exact order in which she writes, I won’t have any problems. With that in mind, the recipe came together quickly and shall I say easily? No problems with the flan, a slight issue with the caramel hardening faster than I expected, but overall good results. I halved the flan recipe but kept the whole amount of caramel based on some of the TWDers comments during the week and baked the flan in four 4oz ramekins for 27 minutes.
We cheated and dug in last night after only 3 hours in the fridge chilling but it was getting late, I needed to go to bed and I wasn’t going to bed without trying it. Overall, I liked the flan. The texture was a little foreign to me but the flavor was great and the complement of the almost tangy caramel was just perfect. Kyle wasn’t thrilled with it but didn’t not like it either. So, I’m not sure I’d make this again but would recommend it to flan-lovers everywhere.
Next week’s TWD recipe: Gooey Chocolate Cakes as chosen by Leigh of Lemon Tartlet
source: Dorie Greenspan, 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
- 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.