Saturday, September 11, 2010

Caramel Flan

Through the Looking Glass (Alice in Wonderland)
The Red Queen:
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."

I love that quote. I think everyone can relate to it in several ways ranging from getting a job, to finances,  school, health or it can even be applied to cleaning the house when you have a 16-month-old. haha My daughter actually stands behind me while I pick up her toys and as soon as I walk off to clean something else, she dumps them all over the floor again. Then she runs to catch up with me, and the cycle begins again. I have to clean as fast as I can to maintain average, if I want a super-clean house, I have to clean twice as fast.

I have a caramel flan recipe that I love. Yep, no transition, I just went right into the cooking. How do you transition that?? A recipe fit for a queen? hahaha Anyway, I saw this recipe on Daisy Cooks, but I had to modify it slightly. She instructs you to cook 1 cup of sugar in (if I remember correctly) 1 tablespoon of water in order to make the caramel. After failing 400 times, I finally gave up and found a new caramel recipe. Other than that, the recipe is great. Creamy, firm, and not eggy in the slightest. 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • About 1/2 teaspoon karo syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • ¾ cup milk
  • One 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • One 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup NestlĂ©’s Media Crema or sour cream
Pre-heat oven to 350F

I've never made this with sour cream, so I'm not sure how that would turn out. You can find Media Crema pretty easily though. I found mine in Wal-mart's ethnic food section. As for the karo, I use it to ensure that my caramel doesn't crystallize all over the place. 

The caramel
Start by heating the sugar, karo and water somewhere between medium and medium high (it needs to boil) in a medium size sauce pan. I believe this takes around 10-15 minutes. Whatever you do, DO NOT stir the caramel while it's cooking. Right when you add the ingredients in the beginning, stir to combine, then never touch it again, no matter what.  It will boil for a while and a thick crust will form across the top. Let it boil longer and eventually it will start to turn a copper color. Once the copper color breaks through, lift it a few inches off of the heat and gently swirl. The crust will go away and a copper liquid will remain. Now you're done. Immediately pour the caramel into a 9 inch glass pie pan, swirl it around so that it coats the entire pan, even the sides. Set the pie pan aside and start on the filling.

Lots of foam
The filling is super-easy to make. Pour everything into a blender (except the media crema) and blend just until the eggs are incorporated. Add the media crema and blend for a second. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes and then scoop off the foam and throw it away. You will scoop off a LOT of foam, but don't worry, you will have more than enough filling. I usually throw a tiny bit of filling away. You should be left with a smooth, very runny, non-foamy, filling. Pour the filling into the pie pan, then place the pie pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches half way up the pie pan. Slide the flan into the oven and let it cook for 1 hour until the center of the flan is set. 

Take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature inside the water bath and then remove it from the bath and put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or longer). When you are ready to serve, run a knife around the edge, put a plate on top and flip the pie pan oven. The flan should fall right out. Scrape out any caramel that's stuck in the pan.

I swear it takes longer to read the instructions than to make! It's an easy dessert and fairly fool proof. I've accidentally left out the milk several times and it still turns out delicious.

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