Sunday, March 13, 2011


Flan is a custard base food mostly used for desserts, as of recently there has been a revival of the savory flans as more professional cooks look into alternatives for side dishes. Savory flans used as a base for gourmand presentations on ever towering dishes and overlaid with delicate vegetables or fish the way whipped mashed potatoes have. 

The basic steps of a Flan rely on the perfect proportions of their base ingredients, Eggs, Milk and Cream
3 Eggs to 1/3 Cup Cream to 1+2/3 cups Milk
3 Eggs to One Small can of Condensed Milk and one small can of Evaporated Milk
There are many variations of the formula but if you look closer the rations by volume start to make sense. The trick is to have enough eggs to coagulate the mixture when cooled otherwise you can end up with Egg Nog

The Modern English word "flan" and the earlier "flawn" come from French flan, from Old French flaon, in turn from Medieval Latin fladonem, derived from the Old Castillian flado, a sort of flat cake, probably from an Indo-European root for "flat" or "broad" (Wikipedia)

Image from España

Flavoring ranges from:
Almond, Orange, Cream Cheese, Ricotta,Vanilla, Coffee and Essence of Flowers.
Sweetened with Maple Syrup, Molasses, Cane Sugar, Caramel or Juices.

Variations are Crema Catalana, Creme Caramel, Egg Custard and Bread Puddings

Takes about 1 hr
  • 1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar (double all ingredients for a family of 6)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 14 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or any other flavoring extract 
  • For Vanilla Bean extract use half  or 1/4 of the bean (Scrape seeds and cut in small chunks the bean then boil in a mixture of water and Bourbon Whiskey 1/4 cup, let reduce to less than 6 oz) 
Preheat at 325 (F)degrees. 
In a warm saucepan over medium heat melt 1 cup of sugar. Constantly stir until it browns and becomes caramel. Pour approximately several tablespoons of caramel into the mold or molds (Ramekins work best) and coat the bottom of the mold. Keep the caramel warm but be careful not to burn it.
Blend the eggs together with both kinds of milk (condensed and evaporated) then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla. Mix ingredients at room temperature or cold!
Pour the custard into caramel lined molds at this stage you can stuff the custard with a dollop of Cream Cheese or an Candied Orange Rind if you want to be fancy. Place molds in a large  baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water (I like to use a clean kitchen towel soaked and submerged in the bottom pan to make retrieval easier and to control hot water splashes) (My oven is wall mounted). Bake for 40-45 minutes in the water bath (Banho Maria) Check if the custard is done with a fork not a tooth pick and place close to the center. It should comes out clean when the custard is ready. Mind one thing the custard will remain half set until you refrigerate it so let it cool before cutting or placing inside the refrigerator.  Let each mold cool in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Then the moment of truth try to invert each ramekin onto a small plate use both hands and secure both the plate and mold over the sink and swiftly turn them upside down, once the custard drops to the small plate the caramel sauce will follow! If the rims of the custard are a little burned or your mold is large cut around the edges with a blunt knife specially if you use silicone molds.

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