Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Make a Flan (Part 1)

Flan is a decadent Cuban dessert that combines the creaminess of custard with the deep deliciousness of caramel. Incredibly simple to make and equally hard to resist, this dessert had eluded me for some time. But not any more! After a foray into Angel food cake, I found my self with a quantity of egg yolks and no real use for them. A-ha! I thought, I'll make a flan. So I trolled the internet for recipes and videos (p.s. they are everywhere!) Then I consulted, Nitza, the Cuban cooking diva, and ultimately came up with a fabulous recipe.

Here is part 1: Making the Caramel

Place 1 cup of sugar into a sauce pan over medium high heat. No liquid necessary. Stir constantly and DO NOT leave unattended for any length of time. As the sugar heats up, the crystalized cane juice (or beet juice) will begin to melt and turn color...

But first it will turn into rocks (resist the urge to touch, there is nothing worse than a sugar burn)
Then it will begin to liquefy and turn amber, keep stirring!

Finally, you will have a dark brown syrup that smells like caramel, and perhaps just a bit like burnt sugar, but not too burnt.

At this point, turn off the heat, pour into the glass dish of your choice and swirl it around so that the caramel coats the bottom and half of the sides of the pan. Like so,

Allow this to cool completely. You will hear the caramel start to crack as it cools. This is perfectly normal and desirable.

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