This holiday season I decided to participate in a Recipe Exchange on the What's Cooking? Board. The rules are simple. Each of us submitted a recipe and in turn we were given another recipe to make. We were allowed to make any necessary changes to the recipe (as to dietary restrictions, etc) but the original recipe needed to be included with notations as to those items changed. The deadline to post is December 22nd.
I was given a flan recipe to create. Flan is basically a custard topped with a caramel sauce. Sugar syrup is cooked until it reaches the caramel stage, then it is poured into a dish before adding the custard. After it is cooked, the flan is inverted onto a serving plate. The caramelized sugar leaves behind a nice layer of caramel sauce.
I was a little unsure about making this, as I have pretty high standards for flan. My mom makes the best flan, and is always getting requests for this dessert. So I grew up seeing her make this time and time again... and while I was often in the kitchen helping her out when I was growing up, I actually never made this with her. I think I was fairly successful in baking this; I did not get any cracks in my flan and was able to invert it onto a plate in one piece. However, the texture was not what I was used to. My mom's flan is very light; it almost melts in your mouth. This flan is very dense. I'm not sure if the texture came out a little differently because I used ramekins instead of one large square pan, if I over-baked it, or if it's the recipe itself. It's probably just personal preference, but after having my mom's flan for years, it's hard to find another flan that is better :)
There were a few things missing from the recipe, including the original source. I've put question marks below in those places where there is missing information. The most important thing missing from the recipe was the amount of vanilla extract. I emailed Katie who is coordinating the recipe exchange to get the missing details... she emailed the person who submitted the recipe and still has not received a reply. So, I will update this recipe when I find out, but when I made it, I just eye-balled the amount of vanilla I put in it :) After December 22nd, be sure to visit Katie's blog, Good Things Catered, to see the round up with all the goodies that were baked up.
1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of condensed milk
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon
? tablespoons of vanilla
Ingredients for caramel sauce:
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
Preheat oven to 350F. Place a large baking pan (large enough to fit a 9" square pan in) in the oven and fill 1/3 of it with water. This is called a water bath.
Next is the sauce. The sauce has to be prepared first since it takes much more time to make than the actual flan batter.
Combine the two cups of sugar and one cup of water in small non-stick sauce pan; add sugar first then pour water over the sugar. Do not stir. Cook on high heat until the sauce reaches a dark caramel color. Be careful not to over cook it or it will be ruined.
While the sauce is cooking combine ingredients for flan and mix well and set aside.
When sauce is done pour into 9" square pan and spread evenly on bottom and sides. Let it set for a moment or your batter will get all mixed in it.
Once it sets for about ? minutes, pour in the flan batter. Place in the large baking pan filled with water.
The water should reach the halfway mark of the smaller pan. If it doesn't, add more water, if it's too much take some out.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until inserted knife is clean when removed.
Place on a large dish and turn upside down. The flan should be brown on the bottom and the sauce should be dripping along the edges.
Chill for 2 hours, and enjoy.
*Note if when you turn the flan over it seems stuck to the pan just separate the edges of the flan from the pan and it should plop right out. Also you'll see some caramel sauce is still stuck to the pan - this is normal. As long as some of it is melted and dripping on the flan you are good.