Does it occur to you that after eating lunch or dinner, you crave for something light and sweet to cleanse your palate? Crème caramel is one of these desserts that awaits for you in the fridge. Once you are in need for desserts, you only need to take it out from the fridge, run a sharp knife around the sides of the flan, and turn over onto plate. The caramel syrup runs over the flan, and it is ready to be indulged.
Flan is quite popular in several countries, notably in Latin America, France, and Japan. The variations are quite minimal. Since I never grew up using butter or cream, even though French cuisine is one of my forte, I tend to develop an alternative recipe to make a dessert which is low in fat and low in calories. This classic dessert usually requires heavy cream, but you can still make a good crème caramel with only whole milk, or even with coconut milk.
The caramel flan is smooth, silky, and creamy. Not overly sweet with an underlying hint of vanilla, it reminds me of a light version of a crème brûlée. If this is your first time making a caramel, it takes a few tries to get used to it. When I did my tarte tatin, my caramel burnt twice, before I got it correctly. The trick is to not lose sight of it.
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Baking Time: 40 mins
Chilling Time: 3 hours or overnight
3 tbsps water
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup white sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place a cloth at the bottom of a 13'' x 9'' baking pan.
2. Prepare the caramel. In a saucepan, heat water and sugar over medium heat. Do not stir. The sugar will froth and start to change colour. Remove from heat when the caramel start to turn a honey-gold colour.
3. Immediately, pour the caramel over 6 ramekins and tilt each ramekin to coat the bottom. Transfer ramekins to the prepared pan and pour hot water halfway up the ramekins.
4. In another saucepan, heat milk and vanilla over medium heat until hot. Do not boil.
5. In a bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until blended. Slowly incorporate milk mixture into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.
6. Sieve custard and pour mixture into prepared ramekins.
7. Bake for about 35 mins until centre is lightly wobbly or until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean.
8. Let it cool for 30 mins, cover with cling film, and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
9. Just before serving, run a blade around the ramekin and flip onto a plate. Serve cold.