The traditionally Spanish dessert flan, a caramel-coated custard, is the perfect choice to serve your guests. Its unique flavor is actually very easy to make. Here's how to make flan:
- 1 and a half quarts milk
- One and 2/3rds cup sugar
- Cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
- 4 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the caramel sauce: Pour 1 and a half quarts of milk and a cup of sugar into a large saucepan. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 40 minutes, making sure not to let the milk boil over. Then, remove this mixture from the heat.Heat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and a teaspoon of water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar melts, turning light brown in color. Immediately pour this melted sugar into a round mold or a baking dish. Tilt the dish back and forth, coating the sides with the caramel sauce.
Make the custard: Heat the remaining milk, <sugar>a cinnamon stick and a lemon peel in a small saucepan over medium heat, letting it simmer for 5 minutes. Make sure this mixture does not boil over. Now, remove it from the heat, and discard the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Beat the eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla extract together in a large bowl. The eggs should become pale yellow, but don’t wait until they become foamy. Then slowly mix the warmed milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. To get a silky smooth texture, pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer.
Prepare the flan for baking: Now, pour the custard mixture into the mold you’ve already coated with melted sugar. Place this dish in a larger pan or dish that is at least 2 inches deep. Now, pour simmering water into the dish until the water is 2/3 of the way up the sides of the custard-filled dish. This water bath is an important step to making the perfect flan, because it will keep the flan from cooking too fast. Cover the entire pan loosely with tinfoil.
Baking the flan: Bake for 50 minutes, until the custard has begun to set. Gently shake the pan; if it is ready to be removed, the center will move only slightly. Remove from the oven, being careful not to spill the water. Help the flan to cool by setting the dish in a pan of cool water. Refrigerate before serving.
Serving your dessert: To serve the flan, invert the mold over a serving plate. The custard will come out of the mold cleanly, and the caramel sauce will be on the bottom (now top) and sides. Scrape the mold to remove any extra caramel sauce, and pour it onto the top of the custard.
Flan is a creamy and sweet way to balance a spicy meal. It looks complicated, but is actually very easy to make!!