Flan Caramel is a very rich and creamy custard, traditional Mexican dessert with a caramel sauce. It is often served with some fresh fruit slices. Flan is prized for its simplicity. After you make flan the first time I think you will find it easy, fast and a real crowd pleaser. Flan is baked in a prepared bain marie (ban mah-REE) which is nothing more than the fancy term for a hot water bath. The hot water gently distributes heat around the flan, so that you end up with a soft, creamy and thoroughly cooked flan.
There are two things to remember when making flan:
- The caramelized sugar is extremely hot and can stick to your skin creating a severe burn. Do not work with this around small children. If you do get burned quickly place your hand in cold water to stop the burn from continuing to burn.
- Be careful with the bain marie. When you remove the pan from the oven be careful to plan ahead, have a close place to put the pan down so that there will be less chance of the water splashing and causing problems.
- 11/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 6 eggs
- 1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2- 13 oz cans evaporated milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need 6 ramekins (6 ounce size)or a pie pan and a large baking pan to put them in.
Pour 1 cup of the sugar and water in warm pan over medium heat, never high heat. Stir sugar and water to incorporate then stir a little more, stirring to much causes hard sugar crystals to form, cook until the sugar is golden brown and thickens to become caramel. You can use a pastry brush dipped in water to go around the edges of the pan if crystals start to form during the caramelization. Quickly and extremely carefully pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each ramekin or more into the pie pan, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden. Set aside.
Gently whisk, just to blend the eggs together, avoid over beating to prevent lots of bubbles. Heat milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally, add the last 1/2 cup of sugar stir until dissolved. In a slow stream, pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl of eggs, whisking constantly. Add vanilla. If you want perfectly smooth flan pour the custard base through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove egg bits and any bubbles. Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins or pie pan.
Prepare a bain marie hot water bath. Take two pans—one large and one smaller. For the smaller pan, glass or porcelain is best. The larger pan, ideally a roasting dish, should have high sides. The small pan should fit, with a 1/2- to 1-inch gap around it. With ramekins, line the larger pan dish with a clean kitchen towel on the bottom and nestle each dish fairly close . This keeps the ramekins from slipping once you pour in the water. Place ramekins or pie pan in the larger and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If the knife comes out clean, it's ready. It should still be a little soft, it will continue to cook a short time when it is removed from the oven.
Remove carefully from the oven, the hot water can easily splash. Set aside to cool. As the flan cools, the caramel dissolves somewhat. Let each ramekin or pie pan cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour or more. To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the dish then invert each ramekin over a rimmed plate, quickly flip over. The flan will slowly drop free and the caramel sauce flows over the flan. Garnish with fresh fruit slices.
Flan can be made 2 days in advance just cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.