My friend Raquel makes flan. She can barely make toast but, somehow, the woman manages to make the most beautiful flans. This week, I decided to make a flan for a little work gathering so I e-mailed Raquel (who is living the high life in Brazil) and asked for her recipe. She sent me the following recipe:
Have ready on your counter: blender, 2 cans of condensed milk, 8 eggs, milk, 1 cup of sugar, the flan pan (right hand lazy susan in our kitchen), large lasagna dish1) Turn your oven on - 350 2) Make brown runny sticky caramel goo from cooking/burning 1 cup of sugar (I just fill a coffee mug about 3/4 full) in smallish pot
3) Pour goo onto flan pan. Most of it will sit on the bottom - which is fine - but try to spread some of it up the sides as it is hardening. Leave that and go make the flan mix.
4) Do half recipe at a time in blender. Pour one can of condensed milk in blender, then fill that empty can with milk and pour that in, then add 4 eggs and mix it all up. Pour that into flan pan. Repeat process.
5) Fill lasagna dish with water and place it in oven. Then place flan pan onto the dish, right in the middle of it.
6) Let it cook for about 1 hour, then check it with toothpick. If the toothpick has really runny stuff on it and the flan looks pretty white on top, then let it stay in for another 15 minutes or so. If the flan looks brownish, it should be good. Don't try to take lasagna dish out -just get the flan pan. Wait till oven cools to get the lasagna dish out so you don't accidentally spill hot water on you or yours (I know, I probably don't have to tell you that). Put flan pan in fridge.
When you're ready to serve, flip the flan! I think you've seen me do this several times. I always run a knife along the sides to loosen it up a bit before I flip it.
Questions arose almost immediately. What size cans of condensed milk? How can different sized cans not affect the egg to milk ratio? Won't sugar burned with no liquid combust? How big is the flan pan and how can it possibly fit in a lasagna pan? Once I had obtained the flan pan from her house here in Minneapolis, there were more questions involving the size of the pan, the flatness of the pan and there were concerns about fluted edges and stickiness. Then, there was the tragic moment when I realized that I did not have the correct flan pan. We exchanged 14 e-mails before I ever began making the flan. That's right, 14 - I counted. A certain friend who makes flan and is living in Brazil but shall remain nameless (though she likes to be called "little missy") felt that I was being too precise about it all. Really, people, can you ever be too precise? Do people ask the makers of fine Swiss time pieces to relax their standards? No. Do people ask architects to estimate measurements on large buildings? No. Precision is a beautiful thing.
Finally, I made the flan on the night of 3/28/06. Much to my surprise, it went quite well. Everything seemed to go just as it was described to me. I brought the flan to work and people "oohed" and "ahhed". It tasted pretty darn good if I must say so myself. Sure, there is room for improvement and I have no doubt that it would have turned out better if I had had better instructions...still, it was pretty and edible and what more could you ask for?
Check out the pictures and try the recipe yourself. If you have any questions, I have plenty of time to e-mail you. It only takes 19 total e-mails to get it just right.