Andrew and I love hosting dinner parties for our friends and family, however, since we moved to Peoria we haven’t planned one. This past weekend changed all that! We had a few of our friends for a delicious Mexican feast featuring chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole, and a caramel flan for dessert. We had plenty of classic margaritas, raspberry margaritas, and sangria to accompany the delicious food. Everyone had so much fun and we can’t wait to host another dinner party. My husband Andrew made the dessert entirely by himself and it turned out amazing. If you remember from January when he made my birthday cake, Andrew is not a baker. In fact, that carrot cake was the first thing I have ever seen him bake and we have been together for almost 10 years. This past weekend when we were planning the menu for our dinner party, Andrew insisted that he wanted to make the dessert. We decided on this recipe for a caramel flan and I am so glad that we did. It turned out wonderful! Making the caramel topping was the only problem that Andrew ran into. He was stirring the sugar-water mixture to dissolve the sugar but it kept recrystallizing in the pan. He tried making the topping three separate times before I had to step in and show him how to do it. When making the caramel topping it is very important not to stir the sugar-water mixture, you only want to gently swirl the pan. It is also very important to use a candy thermometer to cook the topping to the correct temperature. After showing him how to make the caramel topping, it was smooth sailing. This thick and creamy flan was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
One Year Ago: Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3 cups low-fat 2% milk
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large baking dish or roasting pan and place 8 7-ounce ramekins in the pan.
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil swirling the pan gently, until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until it has the color of straw and measures 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. After the sugar syrup reaches 300 degrees, turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel turns a deep amber color and registers 350 degrees on the thermometer. Do not stir.
- Carefully and slowly divide caramel among the ramekins, being careful not to splash caramel onto yourself or outside of the ramekins, and cool slightly until hardened.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in the zest, sweetened condensed milk, and low-fat milk. Pour the mixture evenly among the ramekins.
- Being careful not to splash any water inside the ramekins, pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake until the center of the custard is just barely set, is no longer sloshy, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170 to 175 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes (start checking the temperature after 15 minutes).
- Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Wrap the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Run a knife around the ramekins to loosen the custard. Invert a plate over the top of the ramekin, and grasping both the ramekin and plate, gently flip the custard onto the plate, drizzling any extra caramel sauce over the top (some caramel will remain stuck in the pan). Repeat with remaining ramekins. Serve immediately.
Yields: 8 individual flans
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Ready In: 3 hours and 10 minutes
Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated