Monday, January 9, 2017

Spanish Flan

You've probably eaten Spanish flan before - crème caramel's kissin' cousin. So often it's too "eggy" tasting with no other flavor, or the texture's filled with too many holes. This recipe from Bon Appétit, however, gets it just right. 
The flavor is rich in vanilla and cream, but not too heavy. The texture is silky and practically melts in your mouth, and the caramel sauce oozes all over this luscious custard.
I added a topping of a Spanish confection called "turrón" - an almond candy that comes in many textures - from a crumbly one I bought at a local Spanish restaurant/store, to a hard-as-rock one that's similar to the Italian torrone. It's totally unnecessary, but adds another texture to the smooth custard. 

This flan was the sweet finale to a delightful evening spent with my book club (and husbands) discussing a book set in Spain (The Telling Room) and noshing on tapas and Spanish wine.

And because you can't have too much beauty in your life, here are a couple more photos of paintings of one of my favorite artists - the Spanish impressionist Joaquin Sorolla.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, many of his works are on view at The Hispanic Society of America, in New York City, but the museum closed for renovations starting January 1, 2017. If you're interested in seeing more of his work, but can't get to Spain (where you can visit his actual studio), or don't want to wait two years or more until the renovation is complete, click here for a link to more information about the painter and photos of his work: 

Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Spanish Flan

The recipe calls for individual flans. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a large ring mold, placing it in a water bath, or "bain marie" and baking for 40 minutes.

From Bon Appetit magazine May 1992


printable recipe here


1 3/4 cup whipping cream

1 cup milk (do not use low fat or nonfat)

pinch of salt

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

3 large eggs

2 large yolks

7 tablespoons sugar

      1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Combine cream, milk and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream mixture; add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes.Meanwhile, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in another heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Quickly pour caramel into six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Using oven mitts as aid, immediately tilt each ramekin to coat sides. Set ramekins into 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
      2. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl just until blended. Gradually and gently whisk cream mixture into egg mixture without creating lots of foam. Pour custard through small sieve into prepared ramekins, dividing evenly (mixture will fill ramekins). Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

      3. Bake until centers of flans are gently set, about 40 minutes. Transfer flans to rack and cool. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)
      4. To serve, run small sharp knife around flan to loosen. (I also put some hot water in the sink and let the metal ring mold sit in the hot water for about 30 seconds to loosen the caramel. Don't let it get inside the mold. You won't succeed in loosening all of it however. Much of it will remain inside the mold.) Turn over onto plate. Shake gently to release flan. Carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over flan. Repeat with remaining flans and serve.

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