Flan Fans: Take Note!

Flan. Photo by Keri White

I’ve always been a fan of flan, but this is not a universal position. Many people find the texture off-putting, and I understand that.

This version, however, eliminates that scrambled egg vibe that can destroy this dessert. I saw the recipe in The Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago and was prompted to try it.

I made a few minor adjustments, but all credit to chef Odette Williams for her innovative use of condensed milk and her discovery that the more you stir and mess with the mixture, the more air gets in, causing those teeny bubbles that create the substandard texture.

Flan | Dairy
Serves 4

1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
4 eggs
1 14-ounce can condensed milk, separated
1½ cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

Heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Boil a full kettle of water. Place a loaf pan inside a roasting pan.

Make the caramel: in a medium saucepan, place the sugar and ¼ cup water. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, watching carefully, until the caramel reaches an amber bronze color; remove it from the heat and pour it into the bottom of the loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until they are uniform in texture and yellow throughout (no more than necessary). Add 1 cup of condensed milk (reserve the remaining for whipping cream), milk and vanilla, and stir gently until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan on top of the caramel. Place the pan into the oven on the roasting pan. Pour the boiling water around the loaf pan into the roasting pan to create a water bath. Bake it for about 45-50 minutes; the flan should be set, but the center should jiggle slightly.

Remove the pan from the water, and let it cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the flan, and invert it onto a plate, letting the caramel run out of the pan and over the top and down the sides.

Whip the cream with the remaining condensed milk, and serve it on top of slices of the flan.


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