It’s flan time! Flan is a Spanish version of custard, or crème caramel, or crème brulee. They’re all variations on a theme! In Veneuzuela, where the DH is from, they call it quesillo, and serve it with red jelly (i.e. jello) and birthday cake at parties. I thought he was joking the first time he told me this, but no, Mr. Google backed him up. At any rate, I decided to make some flan for my tapas party!
I had made some honeycomb toffee, a.k.a. cashew brittle that foamed more than I expected, for a hike the previous week, and had saved the little crumbly bits to top a dessert sometime. I thought maybe I could sprinkle it on the flan. But then I decided that I wanted to try doing pulled sugar for a topping; you know, the strands of sugar that you see sparkling atop croquembouche? I saw a movie about the Meilleurs Ouveriers de France (best pastry craftsmen in France) and had been struck by how easily they manipulated hot sugar. I thought I’d try it. Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as they make it seem. And wowza, it was hot! I only managed to get a handful of spun sugar threads from the dry caramel I had made, but I saved those and set them aside along with the crumbled toffee bits. And then I made the flan!
This recipe is easier than you’d think, and very impressive! Every single person who tried this dessert at the party commented on how great it was. Very gratifying, I have to say! Want to be gratified too? Let’s get flan-ifying!
Caramel Toffee Flan
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 c. table cream (or whatever cream you have lying around. The richer, the better!)
- 3/4 c. skim milk (or enough cream and milk combined to make 1 3/4 c.)
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 can condensed milk
- crumbled toffee to decorate with (optional)
Place sugar in pot and melt over high heat (this creates what is called a ‘dry’ caramel), until caramelized and golden. Be careful not to let it get burnt — you’ll know if you have, because it’ll smell burnt! Take the melted sugar, and pour it into a cake pan, swirling the pan to get the caramel to cover the bottom and part of the sides. Set pan aside.
Mix remaining ingredients together. Pour into prepared cake pan. Place cake pan in a larger rectangular cake pan that has an inch of water in it (this makes a Bain Marie, a water bath). Bake at 375 degrees for an hour or until the centre is no longer jiggly, but is not super solid either. Cool, run a knife around the edge, place serving plate over the top, and flip quickly. Let sit for a minute or two, and then carefully take off the cake pan. Decorate with crumbled toffee and spun sugar. Or not! The flan is pretty impressive on its own without the toppings, as the sugar in the base creates a lovely golden syrupy top. Serve with pride!
I’ve made this dish a couple of times, and the DH demolished it the first time, along with the help of my mum who likes a nice crème caramel. This time, the guests at the tapas party ate it all, served with caramel sauce, and there was a teeny, tiny piece left for the DH to snack on at midnight. And then there was none. I guess I’ll just have to make it again!
If you make it, let me know in the comments how you serve it, and what the reaction is!
Next Post: Continuing with the sugar theme, Chocolate-Covered Honeycomb Candy! Probably why I’m now craving greens.