For someone who was recently weened off of Duncan Hines cake mixes, the idea of making flan from scratch was a little daunting. I mean, I'm used to seeing flan served primarily at frou-frou sushi bars (though I did recently see it on the menu of a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, but they didn't make it from scratch). It's such an elegant dessert that I thought it had be really hard to make.

So when I set off to execute my first challenge as a member of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, I was a bit apprehensive and felt deep-down inside that the caramel-topped flan (aka creme caramel) was going to turn out horribly. However, I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday night when these golden little cups of egg-y goodness came out of the oven.

As with all Tuesdays with Dorie challenges, this recipe came from Dorie Greenspan's newest cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours. I borrowed a copy from the library over the weekend and had a hard time putting the book down. I kept on flipping through its pages and admiring the beautiful pictures. The recipes also seem easy enough to follow as evidenced by my success with the flan. I will definitely order my own copy soon.

Ingredients (sized down to 1/2 of the original recipe)

For the caramel

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/6 cup of white sugar
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
For the flan
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 5/8 cup of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
I first preheated the oven to 350 degrees F and lined the bottom a 9x13 in baking pan with two paper towels. I'm not really sure why the paper towels, but what Dorie asks for, Dorie gets. Then I filled a teakettle with water and set it on the stove to boil while I worked on everything else.

I decided to make the flan in 6 little brioche baking cups that I had bought at Ross a while back but had never used. Since each cup only held about 1/3 cup of liquid (or a little less), I had to halve the recipe detailed in the book. In a small pot, I dissolved sugar in some water and lemon juice to make the caramel. I constantly stirred the mixture over medium-high heat until the sweet liquid became an amber color. I stopped and took the pot off of the heat when I got my first whiff of what I thought was a burning smell. I then distributed the caramel into the brioche cups, haphazardly trying to distribute the syrup evenly on the bottoms of the cups. I lined the cups in the 9x13 in baking pan and set them aside.

For the flan, I stirred together the milk and heavy cream in a small pot and warmed it over a medium heat until the mixture began to boil a bit. I stirred frequently, stopping and removing the pot from the heat when I saw the first series of bubbling. Meanwhile, whisked the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar with a fork in a large bowl. Once an even mixture was created, I stirred in the vanilla extract. Then I began to temper the eggs by pouring a quarter of the heated milk/heavy cream combo into the egg mixture while whisking like mad. As soon as I made sure there weren't any chunks of cooked eggs in the mixture, I slowly whisked the remaining heated combo into the egg mixture. When I was finished mixing everything, I skimmed off all of the froth and bubbles lining the top with a spoon.

I poured the flan mixture into the brioche cups lined up in the 9x13 in baking pan. I then carefully placed this all into the preheated oven. This was particularly tricky because the cups were filled to the brim (I didn't want to waste any of the flan!), but slow and steady got the job done. I then slowly filled the baking pan with the hot water from the teakettle until the water line hit halfway up the brioche cups.

I baked the flan for about 30-35 minutes until the bottoms (or what would be the bottoms) were browned.
I took them out of the baking pan and set them on a making shift wire rack to cool. I was anxious to taste the flan, but I had to wait until the next morning to sample my work because the flan had to set in the refrigerator for at least four hours. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Easter morning, though!

My parents felt that the flan was a little too hard. Maybe less baking time? Less egg? It was hard to add 1/2 of an egg, so I might have added a tad too much. More milk? I have no idea. Also, the brioche cups created a very pretty petal-like edge for the flan, but it was very tricky loosening the flan from the cups. I kept on cutting into the flan. I probably will invest in some proper ceramic ramekins for my next round of flan.

18 comments:

  1. Erin said...

    Looks great! Welcome to TWD!  

  2. Dianne said...

    I love the little flans! The look perfect! Welcome to the group! :)  

  3. noskos said...

    Welcome to TWD!! Nice looking flans!!  

  4. Gretchen Noelle said...

    I do love the flower like shapes. Adorable!!! Great job with these!  

  5. cruisingkitty said...

    Your little flans are so cute!  

  6. Rebecca said...

    Welcome to TWD! Looks like everything came out beautifully. But do buy some ramekins. They're handy.  

  7. CB said...

    I love the little flower shape! Welcome to TWD! Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought  

  8. Mevrouw Cupcake said...

    Nice fluted molds, they look adorable! Welcome aboard!  

  9. Melissa said...

    Pretty mold! Welcome!  

  10. Heather said...

    Welcome to the group! I love the molds you used! Very cute! Great job!  

  11. Shari said...

    I love the molds you used!  

  12. Rachel said...

    Welcome to the group! I love the tiny floral pans. Adorable!  

  13. The Frosted Bake Shop said...

    they look delicious. so cute that you used shaped molds. what a neat idea.  

  14. smellslikehome said...

    love the shape of your flan! great job!  

  15. The Baker's Lamb said...

    Lovely flans! Welcome to TWD!  

  16. Annemarie said...

    You are so nice to say my pics look good...I have no idea what I'm doing when I take them. I try to take pics with nat light in the morning or afternoon...if I can't do that I just adjust the color on my computer before posting them. Thanks!!  

  17. Jaime said...

    i love the molds! even though they are difficult to unmold they are so cute! :) my ramekins have fluted edges so they were a bit difficult as well but they still tasted good ;)  

  18. Jennifer said...

    These look gorgeous!