Monday, March 24, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel Topped Flan

Flan is a simple dessert to prepare with a big "wow!" factor. I'm still shocked by how easily the flan slithered out of the cake pan and how elegant it looked surrounded by the pool of just-shy-of-burnt caramel. I still don't understand how the caramel remains a liquid in spite of 4 hours in the refridgerator. I was expecting the caramel to adhere the flan to the pan (ha!) but if there's one lesson to be learned by this recipe, it's that you must always have faith in Dorie Greenspan. Although this dessert isn't for me, (I found it tasted a bit eggy), my husband enjoyed this delicate caramel-bathed custard.

Caramel-Topped Flan-

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
makes one 8″x2″ flan

Note: You can make individual servings by using six 6-oz or seven or eight 4-oz ramekins or containers instead of the larger cake pan.

For the caramel:

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons 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 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Getting ready:-Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a roasting pan or 9″x13″ 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 heat.
-Put a metal 8″x2″ round cake pan– not a nonstick one– in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel. (If you are using individual molds or ramekins, then skip this step.)

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 milk and heavy cream 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. (Small, individual molds will take less time– 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.
Storing: Covered with plastic wrap in its baking pan, the flan will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, once unmolded, its best to enjoy it the same day.
Serving: Bring the flan to the table and cut into wedges. Spoon some of the syrup onto each plate.


CB said...

I love the slice cut out picture. Beautiful job!

noskos said...

Your flan looks beautiful!!

Bumblebutton said...

Very pretty, as are all your food photos!

Shari said...

How did you make the slice so perfectly? Looks great!

Judy said...

It turned out lovely.

Gretchen Noelle said...

The flan looks truly lovely. glad it was enjoyed!

Marie said...

Lovely looking flan! Well done and I love your plate!

Dianne said...

It looks fabulous!

Annemarie said...

Your pic is beautiful! Looks like it should be in a magazine! Good job on the flan!

Heather said...

Great picture! The flan looks delicious!

Rebecca said...

I thought it was eggy, too! It's a shame when the photos are better than the dessert. ;)

Melissa said...

Yours looks great!

Cecilia said...

Your flan looks great!

I was also surprised about how liquid the caramel turned out to be. When the syrup had hardened in the baking pan at the very beginning, I wondered how I was going to flip out the flan and actually get some caramel in the process. It just flowed right out, though.