Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flan = FAIL... well... kinda...

Ok... so when I was putting together my Cinco de Mayo menu, I wanted to try dishes I hadn't made before. I thought flan would be nice. Who doesn't love caramel & custard right?

So after perusing the internet for a while, this is what I came up with.


Spryte's Flan ~ Take One
1 1/2 C white sugar
5 eggs
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1 TBLS vanilla
a little lemon zest (possibly where I went wrong?)

Preheat oven to 350F
Start by making caramel.
Pour the sugar into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir until liquid and golden.
Pour caramel into a 9 inch glass baking dish. (I used a deep dish pie plate)
Beat eggs; then beat in sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and lemon zest.
Pour into baking dish.
Bake in a water bath. Carefully put baking dish into a roasting pan, fill roasting pan with hot water until it's about halfway up the baking dish. Carefully move to oven and bake for 60 minutes or until center is set.
Cool on rack to room temp, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
To serve, gently loosen edges with a knife and invert onto a rimmed platter.
Slice & serve.


This was also my first time making caramel. I was a little nervous. I stirred it continuously and kept the temperature pretty low.

Also... I started out using a whisk. Don't do that. As the sugar starts to melt, it accumulates inside the whisk. I had to change to a spoon pretty early on.

Nice and melty.

When it's copper colored, pour it into the baking dish.

Now to make the custard.

First... I didn't beat the eggs alone. This could be mistake number 1.

I poured the milks and the eggs together and beat them at the same time.

Does that matter? I have no idea!

The only custard I've ever made was creme brulee, one time and honestly, that didn't set up very well. But it was so long ago, I have no idea how I made it.

Anyway... I threw the milks & eggs together and beat them.

Beat in vanilla and lemon zest

Now pour the egg mixture into the baking dish with the caramel.

Next it needs to go into a water bath for baking.

I don't have a roasting pan and my widest shallow baking dish wasn't wide enough to fit this pie plate.

So I had to put in into my GIGANTIC cast iron skillet. That weighs a million pounds on it's own, let alone with a full pie plate and filled with water!!

So put the baking dish into whatever pan is big enough to accommodate it.

Then put in enough hot water to go half way up the baking dish.

Now into the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until it's set in the middle.

Cool on rack to room temp, then into the fridge until thoroughly chilled.

To plate, run knife along the edge to loosen and invert into a serving plate with edges.

You want to use one with edges incase the caramel is runny (which is what you want)


The flavor of this flan was delicious. However the texture was weird. It wasn't grainy; it was almost like tapioca or something. A little chunky?

I dunno. Was it that I didn't beat the eggs first by themselves? Did the lemon zest do something funky?

It definitely needs work.

So... do you know how to make my flan creamy?


Michele said...

I know I didn't taste it but it LOOKS perfect to me! I bet it was great!

Unknown said...

Hi, I asked my Mom who is the 87 year old Flan making expert, you've got to beat the eggs by themselves and this is a recipe you can "cut corners" on you've got to follow it to a tee. She also suggested that you use a pan that isn't angled-in other words no pie plate, striaght up down edges. As for the water, it's got to be at least half way up the sides of the pan that has the flan in it. Hope it helps cuz all I know is that she makes dead on flan that is heavenly and creamy every time.

Spryte said...

Thanks Shels! It did taste great... but it felt weird!

Thanks so much Susie!! I'll have to get a different pan. I don't think I have one that's the right size. The ones I have with straight edges are too deep. Thanks again!!

Shane T. Wingerd said...

It looks good to me... :) The last time I made "flan", I used Whole Milk and Light Cream. I have never done it SCM or EM, although I use them for Key Lime Pie and German Chocolate Cake Frosting, respectively.
The recipe I used had eggs and yolks as well...
Come to think of it... I think what I made wasn't so much a flan as a Creme Caramel, which is the same idea, just a little different.

I would listen to Susie's mom... LOL

The only advice I can really give is that the center should not be completely set when removed from the oven, it should still jiggle just a little...(like Pumpkin pie and Cheesecake) Cause it will continue to cook a little afterward...

noble pig said...

Did any of the eggs scramble by any chance. Flan can be tricky.

Spryte said...

Thanks Shane... also I didn't pull it out of the water bath right away. It didn't occur to me right away that it would keep cooking being in hot water filled cast iron.

Cathy... I don't think they could have... the caramel was completely cool by the time I poured in the egg mixture. But it's possible the hot water in the water bath was too hot and maybe the edges cooked too fast?

Lara said...

At least it looks great. That's half the battle if you ask me.

Heather S-G said...

Sorry this didn't turn out like you hoped, but yes, at least it tasted good :). I was just thinking of posting flan...the recipe I have works every time (well, it has so far)...I actually do use a pie plate (but just the regular metal type)...But definitely make sure water is boiling when you put it in at least 1/2 way up the side of the pie plate (or whichever kind u use). I think maybe cooking it about 10 minutes less would have helped the curdy-type texture be a little smoother, too. I usually cook it about 50 minutes, which still leaves it sort of "tacky" looking on top...and feeling too, if you touch your fingers to it. It does end up all creamy and amazing though! Know what? I'm gonna make one in the next couple of days and post it...the recipe is very close to yours (but no, I don't use lemon). blah, blah, blah... ;)

Bob said...

I've never made a flan before, so I can't help you. But it looks good to me, I would totally eat that. :)

teresa said...

I've never tried flan either, but this sure turned out beautifully!

NKP said...

I have never even tried flan before, so you are way ahead of me.
I love the look of that caramel on top. I want to pick it up and eat it!

Debbie said...

I've never made flan before but my daughter in law is a wiz at it....I will have to try someday. I think your flan looks great....pass some here for me to enjoy, please!!!!

What's Cookin Chicago said...

I'm actually teaching a flan cooking class in a few weeks and I put everything in a blender until nice and frothy. I also add a touch of cream cheese for an extra smooth texture. looks great nonetheless and great job on the caramel!

Tangled Noodle said...

Quite frankly, it looks good to me! I love flan but I've only made it once. I put them in individual ramekins so the water bath wasn't an issue but I do think that beating the eggs separately first is best before adding the milk. Still, the fact that it tasted great is a big plus!

Deborah said...

I've only made flan once, so I don't know what to tell you, but it looks great!!