In his safety control room, Homer pokes at all the donuts… [poking at each jelly donut in turn] [poke] Igh, lemon. [poke] Ugh, cherry. [poke] Ooh, custard. [poke] Mmmmm…. purple… — Homer, enjoying the finer things in life, “Homer Defined”
Hosted by Elise of Simply Recipes, the theme of this month’s Sugar High Friday is Cooking up Custard. Rich, creamy custard. I was almost tempted by Homer Simpson’s love for custard filled donuts in my search for an entry. But I chose to make a dish that was one of the first “real desserts” I ever baked on my own in my mother’s kitchen: flan.
Prior to attempting that first flan, I had mostly baked cookies and cakes from boxed mixes. And I baked them a lot. Looking back, I don’t remember exactly why I chose flan, but I do know that my mom played a part in my decision: she said that flan was too difficult and that I shouldn’t bother trying it. Let me tell you that she was wrong. That flan turned out wonderfully and so did this one.
This time, I used the Perfect Flan recipe from Bon Appetit. The only change I made was to infuse the caramel with vanilla as well as infusing the custard.
Don’t be intimidated by flan. Making the custard is easy, in large part because the cream cools slightly before you combine it with the eggs; the risk of curdling is quite low. The caramel doesn’t have to be cooked to a specific temperature, just make it a dark amber and pour it into ramekins. Boil water in a kettle for the water bath and bake. Refrigerate. Eat.
And while you’re eating, why don’t you check out the other custardy delights in this month’s roundup?
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
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
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine cream, milk, salt and vanilla bean in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat and remove from heat just as you start to see steam rise from the mixture. Let steep 30 minutes, then scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream mixture. Discard pod, or save fo another use.
While the cream is cooling, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in another medium saucepan at medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Turn up heat to high and cook until color becomes deep amber (about 10 minutes). Pour into each of sic 3/4 cup ramekins/custard cups. Tilt ramekins to coat bottoms. Set each into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk (by hand or at a low speed) eggs, egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar until blended. Gradually whisk cream mixture into egg mixture, trying not to create too much froth or foam. Pour custard through small sieve or strainer into prepared ramekins, dividing evenly (should fill all ramekins nearly to the top). Place baking pan containing ramekins into oven, then carefully pour hot or boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Take care not to get any water in the custard.
Bake until flans are just set, about 40 minutes. A very sharp knife inserted into the center of a custard should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
To serve, run small sharp knife around flan to loosen. Invert onto small plate and carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over flan.