This is my first food post. And what is it on? But of course, dessert. 🙂
Coming from city of Kolkata in India, sweets surround our lives. There is a sweet shop in every nook and corner of the city, some are big-wigs in the business while others are small scale shops. People eat sweets as a snack, as dessert and of course if you invite guests to your house you will inevitably receive a box-full of sweet treats. In short, everyone Loves their sweets! We will go into the Bengali favorites in later blogs but for now let me tell you this about this strange yet real person who grew up amidst all this sweet-eating frenzy but never for once developed the very Bengali sweet tooth. Me. Yes. I am the anomaly. It’s not ‘dieting’. I never diet. My threshold of sweet consumption is two squares of 70% dark chocolate (if that makes sense) and maybe one ‘Bancharam’ sweet (Calcuttans, you will know this). But an even stranger thing is I love making desserts, Indian or Western.
Now coming back to this recipe. Last summer, after a very long day at work, I came home and all I wanted to do was make a delicious dessert for my husband, AB, and me. (Of course, since I wanted to eat it, it couldn’t be super sweet)
Since I like Laura Vitale’s recipes, I gave her Flan a try. It came out excellent. I made it for the second and third time. Again yum, both times. For the fourth time (this one) I decided to play around with the ingredient measurements a tad bit. Came out fabulous. So I feel the key to this recipe is the method and of course the precision. Although it does not take much time to make it (i.e. before you put it in the oven), if the steps are followed accurately, you’re good.
1 ¼ cup of heavy cream
¾ cup of whole milk
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp of granulated sugar (white)
fresh berries to serve (optional)
½ cup of granulated Sugar (white)
3 tbsp of water
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a kettle or vessel(for the water bath) Place 4 (6oz) ramekins in a large ovenproof dish with high sides and spray them with non stick cooking spray or use few drops of vegetable oil to grease them. Set this aside.
2) In a small saucepan, add the heavy cream, milk, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, cook over medium heat until it comes to a simmer (you will see tiny bubbles forming all around the edges. Do not boil this.) Then turn it off and let it sit while you work on the caramel.
3) In a saucepan, add the sugar and water but do not stir, cook over medium high heat until the mixture turns a deep amber color, remember you can swirl the pan but never stir. This process might take up to 10 minutes or more (it took 16 mins for me) Be patient with this caramel making process. And yes, do not leave this on the stove unattended, phone calls and messaging can wait because it can turn from amber color to burnt in just seconds!
4) Divide the caramel between the 4 ramekins and immediately tilt the ramekins to make sure the whole bottom surface is covered in the caramel. Caramel hardens very fast.
5) In a small bowl, whisk the 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk with the 3 tbsp of sugar until they are well mixed. Pour the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk well to Combine everything. Divide this mixture equally into the 4 ramekins.
6) Pour some hot water in your oven proof pan up to about half way up the ramekins (you may or may not need 4 cups water depending on your dish size), bake them for about 35 to 40 minutes or until set.
7) Remove from the water bath and let them chill for a couple hours in the fridge or overnight. To serve, run a small paring knife around the edges and tilt upside down on a plate. Serve with your favorite berries.
P.S. Do not worry about the caramel, it might drip down the edges when you flip it to serve, or might form a thick-ish layer on the top of the flan, as long as you did not burn it, it will taste just as good!
[Original Recipe by Laura Vitale. Modified according to the way I made it.]
Children seem to especially love this dessert. So, for all the mommies out there who have trouble making your kidlings drink milk, you could make this with just whole milk. Why not, right? Worth a try?