Friday, October 2, 2009


My dad recently had a birthday, and I wanted to make him his favorite dessert - Flan. I was really really nervous about this. I've never made anything like flan. Luckily, everything went well and we came out with a perfect and delicious dessert! (I got this recipe from foodnetwork - its an Emril Lagasse one.)

Flan has relatively few ingredients.

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 quart milk (4 cups)
2 strips orange zest
2 strips lime zest
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (i just used about 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
4 large eggs
6 large egg yolks

Start by making the caramel - in a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar with 1/4 cup of water, tilting the pot so that the water is evenly distributed. Cook over high heat (i used med-high), swirling the pan (but never stirring) until the sugar melts and turns to a deep amber color, 4 to 6 minutes. It takes a while to start looking brown, but once it starts it browns up pretty quickly. Immediately remove from the heat and, working very quickly, pour the caramel into a 2-quart porcelain casserole dish. Swirl the caramel to completely cover the bottom and partly up the sides of the casserole. Set aside to cool completely. I didn't have a casserole dish, though if you have one that's definitely best. I used a deep pie dish instead and it worked very well, though I did end up having a little extra of the custard that wouldn't fit.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the milk, remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, orange zest, lime zest, (i just used extra lime zest because i didn't have orange zest) and vanilla bean (in my case just plain vanilla) in a medium saucepan and bring mixture just to a boil. Cover pot and allow mixture to steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs and egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the hot milk mixture, little by little, and whisk lightly to combine. Be VERY careful when you temper the eggs or else you get custard with scrambled egg bits. If this happens you can use a fine sieve to strain out the egg bits.

Place the casserole in a larger baking dish or roasting pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the casserole. Again, I had to make shift, I only had a cake pan, so i balanced my pie dish on the sides of the cake pan. This is probably not safety-approved.

sorry it was really dark when i made the flan and my kitchen has terrible lighting.

Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the pan so that it is lightly covered and bake, undisturbed, until custard is just set, about 1 hour. (The timing may vary slightly depending on the baking dish used, mine took about an hour and a half) Remove the flan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely and transfer to the refrigerator and chill, preferably overnight.

If you want to serve this really decoratively you can run a sharp paring knife around the edge of the custard and shake the custard slightly to loosen. Invert an appropriately sized platter or serving dish over the casserole dish and, working quickly and holding both the casserole and the platter together, turn the casserole over and place the platter on a flat work surface. Gently lift the casserole off of the platter; the custard should gently fall from the casserole onto the platter. If not, tap the casserole and platter lightly on the work surface to help dislodge the custard. I have to warn you that this will not work if you use a pie dish with fluted edges. Either way, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to warm slightly before serving. Serve slices of the flan with some of the caramel sauce spooned over top.

Since I couldn't actually dump mine out I just settled for putting a candle in the top and then cutting slices out of it (like you would a pie)

My dad practically licked his plate!

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