Ok, so I have a second food and movie reference. One of my favorite scenes in Volver – another Pedro Almodóvar where food features prominently — is of Penelope Cruz carrying a metal pale full of flan! I’d never seen flan served that way. Flan or crème caramel, is one of my favorite desserts. Creamy and delicate – it’s a dessert my friends often ask me to make.
When making flan you have to ensure you give it time to set overnight in the fridge — making it the perfect make ahead dessert for dinner parties. The trickiest part of flan is the caramel. Make sure you are 100% focused when adding the caramel to your ramekins and that you move fast. I like to warm my ramekins to give me a few more seconds to spread the caramel evenly across the bottom of the ramekin. I wasn’t so speedy with this batch and they aren’t my most beautiful but they were delicious nonetheless.
Classic Spanish Flan
Recipe adapted from José Andrés.
- Yield: 6
- 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
- To make the caramel, put 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of water.
- Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil the syrup, stirring and swirling the pan, and you’ll see the caramel turning a light brown color. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until it becomes a dark amber color. Keep an eye on the caramel as it cooks; you don’t want it to burn.
- Quickly pour the caramel into six ramekins, coating the bottoms evenly. Set aside to let cool and harden.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and the eggs.
- Pour in the cream, half and half and vanilla and gently mix together well.
- Strain mixture through a sieve into bowl with a lip, or a pitcher.
- Set the caramel coated ramekins in a roasting pan and pour the custard into the cups. Carefully fill the pan with hot water up to a level in the middle of the ramekins.
- Cover the pan with foil and carefully place the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- Rotate pan and cook for another 20-25 minutes, until the custard is set.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let custard cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.
- Transfer ramekins to a plate to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, gently run a thin knife around the inside of the ramekin to loosen the flan. Cover with a plate and invert the ramekin onto the plate and allow the custard to come loose onto the plate. The caramel will pool around the flan.