Flan

Flan has a very special place in my heart. Me recuerda a mi niñez.

No crecí with a working oven, so anytime we wanted pan or pastel we’d get it from the local panaderias, la señora de los pasteles, or on special occasions, we would go to a restaurant. There was a specific restaurante Oaxaqueño that became a family tradition to dine at. Several birthdays are marked by a plate of delicious flan and servers who sang “Happy Berday” and called me Panchita instead of by name; meanwhile the live band’s rendition of Te Quiero by Hombres G played in the background.

Food is a window to the soul. In my culture, like many others, it is how we express love and appreciation. No matter how long we’ve known you, everyone has a place at the table. As I heard growing up, donde comen dos, comen trés. The kitchen itself holds great significance for me. It’s where family traditions are passed down and new ones are made, where I learned to add spices without measurements, and where mi Mamá compartió su amor for music and dance with me. It is in essence the heart of a home, no matter how big or small. 

I invite you to learn about the history of flan because it’s come a long way since the Roman Empire-wait till you try chocoflan! I also hope that you have fun making it and that you enjoy every last bite. 

Provechito.

– Shared by an HSRC Team Member

Flan is a sweetened custard with a caramel sauce.

It is prepared by filling custard cups with a small amount of caramel, then adding a milky custard mixture before baking. While baking cups sit in a water bath in the oven to provide even heating. We encourage you to read through this recipe completely a couple of times before beginning.

Recipe for Flan

Equipment: mixing bowl for custard, something to mix custard, 1 ceramic ramekin, 5 baking tins, pan to cook caramel on the stovetop, baking dish to put around 1″ water in to bake flan cups in, maybe another baking dish for the remaining custard that doesn’t fit in the 6 baking cups provided.

Ingredients:

for Custard

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar 

for Caramel top

  • 1 scant cup sugar (scant means just a little less than)
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions:

If using the Healthy Beaver Bag kit, measure 1/3 cup sugar for the custard and set aside. Use the remaining sugar to make the caramel.

Prepare the baking cups/oven

  1. take out a pan with sides that can go in the oven. Place the white ceramic ramekin and the metal baking cups in the pan, with a little space between them. Set aside the plastic lids, these should not go in the oven.
  2. preheat the oven to 350F

To Make the Caramel

Summary: Place 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until it is golden brown, not thickened completely or dark brown. Pour caramel into ramekins enough to cover the bottoms.

If you haven’t made caramel before or observed caramel being made, here are instructions with more detail about what to expect and Look at the video at the top of the post to see the stages

  1. Place 1/2 of the sugar for the caramel (about 1/2 cup) and ¼ cup water in a saucepan over medium/high heat. (on a very hot gas stove you may need to use lower heat, on a coil/flattop stove top heat may need to be higher depending on how hot your burners get.)
  2. Do not stir, allow the sugar to melt. You will see it bubble and change form a bit to look fluid, add the remaining sugar a little a time, allowing it to melt in after each addition. While you should not stir, you can move the pan to swirl the caramel just a little to combine after each additional sugar amount. Note: be very careful when melting sugar – it is soooo hot and sticky- you do not want to splash it on your skin
  3. Heat until it is light golden brown.
    • On its way to golden brown the sugar will appear first melted, then bubble into big sticky bubbles, then turn clear briefly with smaller bubbles, and then begin to brown.
    • If it isn’t browning you may not have enough heat. It was surprising how much heat it took on an underpowered electric coil stove to get it to caramelize. It was also surprising easy to burn on a gas stove in a food service kitchen.
  4. As soon as it is gets lightly golden brown, pour caramel into ramekin and tins, enough to cover the bottom. Note: It will firm up.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding custard mixture

to make Custard

  1. heat the over to 350 F
  2. Crack the three eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk them for a few seconds.
  3. In the same bowl, add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and sugar and mix well for a couple of seconds. 
  4. Pour about ⅓ cup of custard into each caramel-coated ramekin.
  5. Fill a shallow pan with about 1-inch of warm water to put the ramekins in.
  6. Place the pan with the ramekins in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
  7. To check if it is done, the center of the the top should have a little bounce to it and should mostly seem set not fluid. If the custard is still not set, leave in the oven rechecking every 3-5 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool sitting in the water bath. Note: Glass and ceramic baking dishes can shatter if they are hot and get exposed to cold water.
  9. Refrigerate at least 6 hours/overnight.
  10. To serve, loosen custard around the edges by sliding a knife around the edge. Then turn the ramekin or tin upside down over a plate and let it land upside down on the plate. 

Note: Extra flan mix can be baked in a larger pan or oven safe bowl set in a water bath and turned the same way.

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