a Latin American dessert, is a testament to how
fabulous flavors emerge from the right combination of
always believed that baking should be fun, with the best
recipes being both entertaining to prepare and delicious to
lovely caramel flan, among the simplest of desserts, hits
the mark because of its "big reveal" before
serving. The dish of baked egg custard looks benign, even
boring, until you place a plate over it, turn it head over
heels and feel the gentle plomp as the dessert releases.:
that’s not even the best part. Lifting the baking dish
releases the secret of burnished caramel syrup that pools
around the custard. The act transforms what appeared to be a
rather sensible dessert into a silken, sensuous finish to
any meal — something that might suit the occasion, given
the Valentine’s weekend.
fun: Flan improves in flavor when chilled overnight (even
two nights), making it an ideal make-ahead dessert.
such a simple dessert, there are many versions, with various
claims of authenticity. With its roots in Latin American
culture, where dulce de leche (or caramelized milk), is
favored, we veered toward recipes calling for a can of
sweetened condensed milk.
the best caramel results, we adopted the tip of using some
light corn syrup to keep sugar crystals from forming as the
water and sugar mixture melts into a caramel. A note: This
isn’t the high-fructose corn syrup of health concerns. The
clear corn syrup on store shelves (Karo is the major brand)
is made with a different process.
caramel isn’t difficult, but it requires your complete
attention because it turns from clear to amber to the color
of maple syrup more quickly than you might think. If the
phone rings now, let it roll over to voice mail.
we fiddled with the oven temperature after tracking down the
explanations for the tiny bubbles that sometimes appear in a
flan, marring its otherwise creamy appearance. Turns out the
bubbles are a sign of a custard cooked too quickly, so we
reduced the oven temperature and used hot water instead of
boiling water for the water bath in which the custard cups
the water bath. Egg custards must bake evenly, ensuring that
the center cooks without the perimeter turning into a
rubbery ring. A few inches of warm water provides a
moderating insulation. Laying a paper towel in the pan keeps
the dishes from sliding into each other.
with a bit of fresh fruit, flan is both comfort food and
elegant dessert. Bonus for some: It’s also gluten-free.
you have an extra serving — our recipe makes six — you’ll
find that flan raises the bar on having an egg for
From Kim Ode.
tbsp. light corn syrup
yolks, room temperature
eggs, room temperature
c. low-fat milk
(14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to
degrees. Place a double layer of paper towels in the bottom
of a 9-by-13-inch pan, then arrange six (6-ounce) ramekins
or other glass baking dishes in the pan without letting them
touch each other.
the caramel: Pour the water in a small, heavy saucepan, then
pour the sugar into the center of the pan. Add the corn
syrup and gently stir just to moisten the sugar. Bring to a
boil over medium-high heat and cook without stirring until
the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Reduce heat
to medium-low and continue to cook until it begins to look
golden. This will take about 3 minutes. As the mixture
continues to cook and darken, swirl or stir gently so it
caramelizes evenly. When it’s a dark amber, quickly divide
the caramel among the six ramekins. (You can eyeball this;
they don’t need to be perfect.)
the caramel cool and harden.
the custard: In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and
eggs, whisking to thoroughly combine, but not so vigorously
that the eggs become frothy; this keeps bubbles from forming
in the custard. Whisk in the milk, sweetened condensed milk
and vanilla until well-mixed. For the smoothest flan, pour
the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a 4-cup
measure or another bowl. Divide custard evenly among the
careful not to splash water into the ramekins, pour enough
hot (not boiling) water into the pan to reach halfway up the
the flans for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the centers look
just set. Remove dishes from water bath and cool completely
on a wire rack.
each in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 48
serve, run a knife around each dish to loosen the flan.
Place a small plate over the top and flip over to release
the flan onto the plate. (Some caramel will remain in the
ramekin. Fill with hot water to soak.) Garnish with fresh
fruit, if desired, and serve.
information per serving:
340; Fat: 10 g; Sodium: 140 mg
52 g; Saturated fat: 5 g; Calcium: 280 mg
11 g; Cholesterol: 180 mg; Dietary fiber: 0 g
exchanges per serving: 1 milk, 2½ other carb, ½ medium-fat
meat, 1½ fat.