Sunday, October 2, 2011

Caramel-topped Flan for my Abah

The only thing that I knew my dad loves to eat is the caramel. You might know it as flan or creme caramel, depending on where you came from. In my country, we just called it caramel. It's a dessert where you only need just 6 ingredients, according to the recipe you follow. But the basics are the same, water, sugar, eggs and milk.

My dad loooooooves it so much that every year during fasting month we would have a tray of caramel to enjoy. He ate most of it. So after I started baking I told myself to learn on how to make it myself. He did so much for me, this is the least I can do to repay him back.

And so I did. Only I have such a strong recipe to start with. Dorie Greenspan can never go wrong. All the recipes that I have tried from her book, not single one of them went wrong. She explained in details in the method section. That's why you can never go wrong if you just follow what she tells you.

In the end, what my dad thinks is the upmost important part. Aaaaaaannnndd, he loves it! I'm a happy daddy's girl.

Caramel-topped Flan
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours


For the caramel
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbspn water
For the flan
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla


Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch 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 the heat.

Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan -not a nonstick one- in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

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 cream and milk 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.

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.

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