First I owe you all an apology for being absent for the last 3 months! I spent the summer in corporate housing in White Plains, NY and was away from my kitchen the entire time, but none of that matters anymore since I'm back and ready to roll! I hope you will forgive me by accepting this beautiful flan :)
I debated for a while what my next post should be, I wanted something creamy and decadent, something smooth and luscious, something that would make your mouth water (and mine too). I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than Flan.
For those of you who don't know, Flan is a Spanish custard that is made from eggs, milk, and sugar. There are many variations today which mostly include condensed milk as the sweetening agent, instead of sugar. Everyone has their preferences, but I love using condensed milk in my flan because it really adds to the wonderful smooth texture that flan should have.
Now I will warn you, if you have never made flan before, you may need to caution yourself in that you will screw up the first part, which is caramelizing the sugar that ends up on top. This is by far the hardest part of making this wonderful dessert. I truly believe getting the sugar just "right" comes with practice. However, I would encourage you to at least try and not be afraid of the sugar, the worst that can happen is that the sugar burns. All you have to do is start over right?
Mix all of the ingredients besides the sugar and set aside in a bowl
Pour the sugar into a pot
Spread sugar so that it is level in the pot. A tip here is that the wider the pot the better so this way the sugar will not be piled up high causing uneven caramelizing.
Do not stir it with a spoon, but just give it a gentle swirl every now and then by lifting the pot and tilting
Another gentle swirl after a few more minutes...
When it finally looks like this, immediately pour it into your pan otherwise you will lose precious time as it will harden before your eyes!
Cover the bottom of the pan with foil only if you are using a springform pan
Pour the custard mixture in and after it comes out the oven, this is the color you should have
Once you plate the flan, you can garnish the center with any extra hard sugar that may be on the bottom of the pan...
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar (for caramelizing)
Before starting, decide on what pan you will use, for a thinner flan, use a 9in round pan, for a slightly thicker flan use 6-8 inch round baking pan. To make sure your flan will fit in a platter that you will have to flip it onto, just put the pan into the plate you plan on serving the flan in, to see if the flan would fit once its done.
1. Put egg into a bowl. Mix in condensed milk and slightly beat together. Do not beat this mixture as you add ingredients because you will create air pockets and your flan will have holes in them, we don't want that :)
2. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk, mixing as you pour. Add extracts and cinnamon and now set aside.
3. Preferably in a cast iron pot/skillet with a wide bottom (wider the better), pour in 1 cup of sugar and spread evenly. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. You must pay close attention to the sugar because you never know what can happen once you turn your back! Once the sugar starts to look light brown on the corners, give the pot a gentle swirl. Let it cook again and periodically swirl the pot until all of the sugar is translucent and amber in color. IMMEDIATELY pour the sugar into your desired pan. Set aside and wait 3 minutes for the sugar to harden completely.
4. Pour the custard mixture that you set aside earlier into the pan with the hardened sugar.
5. Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. If it seems too watery/loose still, then leave it in for an additional 10 minutes. Everyone's oven temperature is different so you will have to keep checking this. You will know when it is done when you shake the pan gently and the custard jiggles like jello.
6. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 1/2 hour. Refrigerate 6-7 hours or overnight. When you are ready to serve the flan, take a knife and gently loosen the sides. Now put your serving plate over the pan and flip the flan onto the serving plate. Pour the sugar that will be on the bottom over the top of the flan. Slice and enjoy!