I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slam, Bam, Simple Flan! (or Flahhhhn...but the real pronunciation didn't rhyme)

I have been married for six and a half years now to a very patient man.  My husband grew up in a very different culture than I did, and one of the things he had that I really didn't was amazingly delicious Mexican food.  I don't mean Tex-Mex.  I mean honest to goodness authentic and amazing Mexican food, and six and a half years ago, I had no idea what that meant.  I'm only starting to learn that what I grew up knowing Mexican food to be was a bit (how can I say this..?) less than authentic.  When my sister and I were in high school, we took a Spanish class, and at the end of that course, our... eccentric...teacher, had a "congratulations!  You passed!" party.  One of the things she served was flan...from pudding cups that you can buy at the grocery store. (For those of your who are like me and have no idea what flan is, imagine a caramel cheesecake.  That's what my recipe is like.)  I had no idea until Bird brought a real one home one day that a friend's Mexican wife had made that what we had tasted in our Spanish class was no where near genuine flan.  He (and my sister) just kept a fork on the plate the flan was on in the fridge, pulled it out every so often, and went to town.  That thing was gone in two days.  So, being the good little wife I am, I learned to make the real deal...and it only took me six and a half years.

I want to add that this picture is not mine.  This IS, however, what my flan looks like.  I just wasn't able to snap a shot of mine flipped out yet!

What you'll need:
1 cup of sugar
1 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temp
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tsp of vanilla
5 eggs

You also need 1/2 cup of water, but I forgot about that before I snapped this picture...

Preheat your oven to 350.

The hardest part of this recipe is making the caramel sauce, and it's so not hard.  You just have to pay attention to it.  Stir together your cup of sugar and your half cup of water in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Now put your spoon down and don't even think about picking it up to stir your sugar water mixture again.  Every few minutes, you're going to swirl the sugar so it doesn't burn, but if you stir it, your sugar will crystallize and you're going to have a big mess.

Let this boil until your sugar turns to an amber color.  This should take between 10 and 15 minutes.  Just be careful.  It can turn from amber to burned in a matter of 15 to 20 seconds.

Once your sugar turns to a caramel, quickly pour it into your dish and move your dish around to coat the bottom.  (I use a 2.5 quart round souffle dish, but you can use a 9x9 square dish, too.)  Be VERY careful.  This sugar is HOT.

Set this aside and let it cool and harden.

While you're waiting for your sugar to harden, put everything else into the blender.  No, seriously.  Throw it all in.  Turn it on.  Blend it until it's smooth, and pour it on top of the hardened caramel.

You're going to cook this in a water bath, so grab a 9x13 baking dish, and throw in about 4 to 6 cups of water as hot as your tap can get it.  Add in your flan dish, and put the whole thing into the over.  Cook at 350 for an hour and twenty to an hour and thirty minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Be aware: this is absolutely going to jiggle, but it sets up completely as it cools.

Let it cool to room temperature then refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, but it's best over night.

To remove it from the dish, run a knife around the edge and hold the very bottom of the dish in a sink of very hot water for a few seconds just to loosen the caramel sauce.  Put a plate on top of the flan dish and very quickly flip it.  The caramel sauce will ooze all down the sides, and you can cut into it like a delicious caramel cheesecake!

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