The first time I made flan was senior year in college. You see, my mother wasn’t too fond of making sweets while I was growing up, and it was on a whim that when her sister, Marina, was visiting us one afternoon it occurred to me to ask her to make it. She gave me a quick list of ingredients and directions, in one of those “how could you NOT know how to make flan?!” tones (it was lighthearted, I promise), and I quickly took it all down on the back of a used envelope. I carried around that hand-written recipe for about two years, traveling through 3 states, until I decided it was worthy of a trip to cyberspace 🙂
To this day, my mother has never made this delectable treat, though she still makes a mean torta every time I visit home. Come to think of it, she’s got a few other Dominican gems up her sleeve, the recipes to which I’ve still got to get my hands on.
Smooth, silky and just the right amount of sweet, this quintessential Dominican dessert is one my college roomies (who never asked for anything) requested and helped devour time and time again.
1 can of condensed milk
1 can of carnation evaporated milk
4 whole eggs
one capful of vanilla (perhaps this amounts to a tsp?)
For the caramel coating:
1 tablespoon of sugar
3-4 tablespoons of water
round cake pan
9X11 rectangular pan (I use the same glass pyrex I make lasagna in. The point here is that the cake pan needs to fit inside the rectangular pan. There are other ways to do this, but the goal is to create a double boiler situation)
- Combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 4 eggs in a large bowl, mixing until completely blended.
- Pour the 1 tablespoon of sugar in a saucepan, set to high heat. allow the sugar to melt and turn brown, and after it’s already brown throw in the 3-4 tablespoons of water. if you do the water+sugar first, it won’t turn brown, but will instead be a clear caramel. and as a warning, you’ll get a pretty big sizzle when you add the water, so be careful! but it’s ok! adding the water will make it a little less viscous, but please do be careful, cuz melted sugar is essentially napalm.
- Pour the caramel/melted sugar into your round cake pan and coat the bottom and sides (this will be the top of your flan).
- Pour the eggs n milks mixture right into the cake pan.
- Now place the cake pan inside the 9X11 pan. Fill the 9X11 pan/dish with water until the water level is half-way up the cake pan.
- Place this in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F. Let cook for about an hour.
- When the flan is looking solid, you’re ready to pull it out (you can test by inserting a knife into the center — if it comes out clean, it’s done). Remove the cake pan, and using a knife go along the edges of the flan (the circumference of the pan), to separate it from the pan. If you don’t do this, removing the whole thing will be extra difficult.
- After doing the knife trick, find a BIG plate (it can be super messy if the plate is too small), and place it atop the round pan. It’s flipping time! Flip the flan over, and the top will be brown and glazed.
- Ta Da! Enjoy!
Little trick: I’ve also used tuna cans (well cleaned, etc) to make baby flans. It’s exactly the same premise — coat the cans inside with the sugar, fill with egg n milks mix, and place inside a pan with water. Delicious and cute 🙂