Caramel-Topped Flan

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Caramel-topped flan is another great dessert for the hot summer months.  It’s cool and slinky and refreshing.

 

Caramel-Topped Flan
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: One 8-inch flan OR 6 (6-oz) ramekins OR 7-8 (4-oz) ramekins

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the flan:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a roasting pan or 9-by-13 inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels.
  2. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off heat.
  3. Put a metal 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides – not a nonstick one – in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.  (If you are using individual molds or ramekins, then skip this step.)
  4. Stir the sugar, water, and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  5. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5-10 minutes.  The sugar will bubble.  Remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.
  6. Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.
  7. Bring the milk and heavy cream just to a boil.
  8. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar.
  9. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla.
  10. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid to temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle.
  11. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk.
  12. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.
  13. Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan.
  14. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven.  Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don’t worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.)
  15. Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there.  It will be very jiggly, but a knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.  (If using small, individual molds, start checking for doneness around the 25-minute mark).
  16. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack, and run a thin knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it.
  17. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Covered with plastic wrap in its baking pan, the flan will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  18. When ready to serve, once more, run a thin knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over, and remove the cake pan.  The flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.  Once unmolded, its best to enjoy it the same day, otherwise the top will start to look wrinkly.  (It will still taste the same.)
  19. Bring the flan to the table and cut into wedges. Spoon some of the syrup onto each plate.

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