This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Steph of A Whisk and A Spoon: Caramel-Topped Flan. My mom makes some of the best flan. So Dorie's recipe had a lot to live up to. My previous attempt at making flan was a flop; I don't think I really did anything wrong, I just don't think the recipe was very good. So I was eager to see how Dorie's version would compare to my mom's.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was nice and creamy. It was a bit heavier in texture than what I am used to, though, so next time I make this I plan to make Dorie's Caramel-Topped Coconut Flan, which is supposed to be lighter.
I didn't have an 8-x-2-inch round cake pan so I used 6-ounce ramekins instead. I halved the recipe and was able to get 3 ramekins filled. It was a little tricky halving it when it calls for 3 eggs, but here's what I did: I placed the 3 eggs in a small bowl, gently whisked them together until combined. Then I transferred them to a measuring cup and used half for the flan and the other half for scrambled eggs. I like a lot of caramel sauce, so I did not halve the caramel recipe. So if you decide to make the full flan recipe, I would recommend doubling the caramel sauce. My mom likes to add a splash of rum to the caramel sauce after transferring the flan to a serving plate; I think it adds a nice flavor to the dessert.
Thanks Steph, for picking this week's recipe. This was only my second time making flan and I was so pleased with the result! Make sure you check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see everyone else's sweet creations.
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
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.
*Note: if making the individual servings, skip warming the containers before pouring in 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.
*Note: if making the individual servings, start checking for doneness around the 25-minute mark.
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.
Caramel-Topped Coconut Flan
For a more tropical flan with a somewhat lighter texture, replace the heavy cream with a 15-ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk (not sweetened coconut cream) and reduce the amount of milk to 1 cup.
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings.