Flan Mexicano (Cream Caramel)

Almost all of my recipes have been learnt from mothers, grandmothers, nonas, Aunts across the world. Recipes that were discussed in broken foreign languages and then made together as demonstrations, because food is a universal language and we always understood each other when we cooked together. The recipe below is one that was taught to me by a Mexican friend’s Grandmother over a Skype call about ten years ago. It’s a simple hearty recipe and when enjoyed chilled, it’s a heavenly experience. Sometimes I mix it up and give it my own twist so I try to get my hands on Gandhoraj lemon for its heavenly fragrant peels. Though the recipe below is exactly as it was taught to me.

This recipe makes about one 8″ flan.

Ingredients

  1. 6 eggs
  2. 1 tin condensed milk (sweetened)
  3. 1 rind of lemon (peeled in slices)
  4. 1 tin milk (use the same tin of the condensed milk to measure milk)
  5. few drops of vanilla essence (or 1 vanilla bean )
  6. 1/2 cup Demerara Sugar (brown) for the caramel. (you can use normal sugar as well)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees centigrade.
  2. Heat the Demerara sugar in a small saucepan till it melts to a smooth golden syrup. Add a few spoons of plain water to make a smooth caramel. Be careful to not let it get too much of color. If you are using normal sugar, melt the sugar to a clear syrup and let the caramelise to a goldenish brown color and then add the water. Pour this caramel into the base of a large flan dish or into the bottoms of small individual serving ramekins or bake ware. let this cool. Make sure you coat the entire bottom and try to let the caramel also coat part of the sides. you can adjust the amount of caramel you want in your flan.
  3. In a large saucepan mix the condensed milk and normal milk. Add the lemon rind and the vanilla and let the mixture come to a boil stirring continuously. (If using a pod, split the pod and rub the knife along the bean to extract the beans inside and add them to the milks and add the beans also) Take this off the heat and let it cool down a little bit.
  4. In a large bowl beat the six eggs. Add a few ladles of the milk mixture to the eggs. The milk should be just warm when you add it to the eggs or else you will cook them. Once you have raised the temperature of the eggs considerably add this egg and milk mixture back into the large saucepan which has the remaining mixture.
  5. Cook this mix till it comes to a boil, while stirring continuously. The mixture with thicken a bit and form a custard. strain this through a sieve and keep aside to pour into the moulds.
  6. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the flan mould on the towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  7. Bake at 175 degrees Centigrade for 45 minutes to and hour. When done it will be firm to touch but still jiggle a bit.
  8. Cool a few hours or preferably over night.
  9. To serve, run a thin knife along the edge of your mould, invert your mould carefully onto a serving platter. Enjoy!
I prefer to do individual serving moulds as I find them doubly useful. Not only are they prettier and easy to serve but also you get so much more caramel per serving. Pairing the creamy flan with some fresh fruit always livens up the dessert even more.

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