Mexican Flan


       Forget about an occasional themed promotion or menu item, this flan will boost revenue and customer satisfaction. With around 40 million Hispanic people living in North America, whom cannot afford to offer at least one Mexican dessert or baked good? Many Hispanic food items have become mainstream. Some of them, however, have been Americanized. Here is an authentic Mexican/Latin American dessert, easy to prepare, which has its proof in the “pudding.”


Category: Dessert

Yield:8 to12 slices – 8 or 9 inch flan or 12 individual ramekins.

Caramel:


Ingredients g / ml lbs / oz Measurement True % Baker’s %
Sugar, granulated 170 g 6 oz ¾ cup - - - - - -
Total 170 g 6 oz ¾ cup - - - - - -


Method:

• Heat a heavy pan over low heat.



• Add the sugar and increase heat to high. Cook without stirring until sugar turns deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.



• Remove immediately from the heat when done and pour it evenly over the bottom of the dish or dishes in which you will be baking the flan.



• Tilt the dish so that the caramel coats the bottom completely and be careful because the sugar is very hot.



• The bottom should be covered with ¼ inch of caramel.



Two tips to making successful caramel for flan: Add a drop of lemon juice into the sugar while it is heating -- this keeps it from hardening or crystallizing. Boil the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches the desired caramel color.

Custard Filling:


Ingredients g / ml lbs / oz Measurement True % Baker’s %
Condensed Milk 400 ml 14 oz 1 ¾ cups 37.38 % - - -
Cornstarch 10 g 1/3 oz 1 tbsp 0.94 % - - -
Vanilla paste To taste To taste To taste 0.00 % - - -
Salt To taste To taste To taste 0.00 % - - -
Eggs, whole 150 ml 5 1/3 oz 3 14.02 % - - -
Eggs, yolk 60 ml 2 oz 3 5.60 % - - -
Milk, whole 225 ml 8 fl oz 1 cup 21.03 % - - -
Media Crema 225 ml 8 fl oz 1 cup 21.03 % - - -
Total 1070 g 2 lbs 5 2/3 oz - - - 100.00 % - - - %


Method:

• Do not refrigerate canned milks before use.



• Combine all ingredients except the Media Crema in a blender.



• Blend for 5 seconds on high speed.



• Add the Media Crema and blend additional 2 seconds, also on high speed. If the liquid is blended extensively, air bubbles will form, which gives uneven appearance.

• If Media Crema is not available in your area, an equal amount of crème fraiche can be used.



• Pour into prepared flan dish. Bake slowly at 350°F on a sheet pan in a water bath for about 35-45 minutes or until the custard is “set.” Use cold water for the water bath.

• Remove from sheet pan, cool and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or, better, overnight.

Notes:

• When you take your flan from the refrigerator, you need to briefly warm up the caramel (it should still be fluid) so it will release from the pan. Dip dish in hot water for 3 seconds. Run a paring knife around edge of the dish. Place a platter, topside down, on top of the custard. Invert the custard onto the platter. Shake gently to release flan.



• Carefully lift off ramekin/ flan dish allowing caramel syrup to run over flan.



History:

• Spanish and Mexican Sweet Custard: Flan is an oven-baked caramel custard dessert that is a very popular dessert in Spain and in Mexico. It is made with a top layer of custard paired with the sweetness of a light caramel sauce, which is put in the bottom of the pan underneath it. Both are baked together. When chilled and then inverted to un-mold, the sauce pours over the custard and is served as is. The typical flavoring is simply vanilla, but there are numerous variations that include almonds, pistachio, orange, pumpkin, coffee, lemon, and various other fruits. Flan may be prepared in a soufflè dish or in individual ramekins or flan dishes. In Mexico it is commonly served in 5 or 6 ounce ramekins. It begins with golden caramel that's made by boiling sugar and, optionally, water to just the right syrupy consistency and pouring it into the bottom of a soufflè dish or individual ramekin.

Varieties:

• Savory Flan: A small savory version of flan can be found on many restaurant menus to accompany to a main course. Examples are Sweet Corn Flan, Sweet Potato Flan, etc. These are typically made of eggs, cream, and the appropriate vegetable flavoring.

• Classic Flan Tart: The flan pastry is baked in a flan ring atop a baking sheet. Flan may also be baked in a tart pan or a pan with a removable bottom. A filling is added to the baked pastry. Fillings may be of any type, but typically they are custard with a fruit topping or cheese custard resembling a quiche.

Special equipment:

• Flan may be prepared in a soufflè dish or in individual ramekins or flan dishes. In Mexico it is commonly served in 5 or 6 ounce ramekins.

Guidelines:

• Flan is commonly used as a term to describe the Spanish or Mexican version of crème caramel. However, traditional flan is both richer and denser than crème caramel, as it contains more eggs and yolks as well as some milk, light whipping cream, half and half, and/or sweetened condensed milk. Historically, flan was baked on top of a stove in a water bath. Now, it has become customary to cook the flan in a water bath inside the oven where it can bake "low and slow."

Quote of the day:

• “I think, therefore I bake!”

Rate of difficulty:

• Easy

Nutritional Analyses:

• Not available

Food paring:

• A great finale for any meal.

Wine paring:

• Dessert wines

Interesting food facts:

• Bakers Dozen: The history of this phrase gives us a glimpse into the many challenges that bakers have had to face through centuries. It seems this expression harkens back to the days of Old English Law in which bakers were severely penalized if the weight was short on baked loaves of bread that were made for sale. The bread was sold by the dozen, but also weight, to comply with the requirements and laws of the day. Therefore, to avoid punitive action that would be taken against the offender, bakers avoided the problem by adding another loaf to the dozen. Thus, a dozen plus one became known as a “Bakers Dozen.”

Guidelines partly adapted from: http://www.baking911.com/custard101_flan.htm


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