Sunday, January 29, 2012

La Mom's Flan

Sometimes I reminisce about my childhood in Tijuana, Mexico, and at times I can't believe the stuff I saw, the things we did, and how traviesos me and my brothers were. But what I remember most of all were the smells coming from the kitchen: the wonderful smells of my abuelita cooking beans on the stove top, or my tios grilling carne asada outside or the smell of burnt sugar. I'll always remember that smell because once my mom was teaching my tia (her younger sister) how to melt sugar (for the flan) and my aunt burnt it. It's a molassesy-burnt-candy smell. Once you smell it you'll never forget.

My mom has been making flan forever. I was quite impressed how easy her recipe is. To save time (and not dirty too many dishes) she usually just blends everything in a blender. But blending in a large bowl works just a well. Also let me say that if you've never melt sugar, you may want to start practicing first. In the beginning the sugar first may seem that it's not melting at all and then comes the point where it will melt rather quickly and if you don't keep stirring it will burn. So don't leave the kitchen when doing this step. Lastly, to make this flan even more lovely, decorate with edible flowers.

INGREDIENTS (serves 8)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or in a blender, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.

When flan has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, carefully run a knife around edges of flan and invert onto serving platter with edges (there's going to be syrup running down the sides).

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