This is one of my favorite desserts of all time. It is the perfect ending to a delicious meal of Venison/Nilgai/Wild Pork Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce. And Pheasant Enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. And Faux Venison Barbacoa. You get the idea. Flan is perfect. Texture, creamy. Simple in preparation and perfectly simple in flavor.
The point I’m trying to make is that Flan is perfect….. and simple.
I got this recipe from a dear family friend, Tony. I wrote it on the back of a Sea World coupon shortly after Sea World opened in San Antonio. See I was teaching back in those days. I had stuff like that in my purse all the time; hall passes, detention slips, notes from parents, confiscated rubber bands, water guns, gum.
The best-loved recipes are usually the ones that have been through many years of wear and tear. Every time I pull out this splattered and worn scrap of paper, I remember the very evening that Deerslayer and I visited with our new baby in tow. (She’s 27 now and teaching at the university!) We enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa, Mexican rice and the best flan I’d ever eaten. Tony graciously shared all the recipes and allowed me to watch him prepare them. Looking back, I think that these were some of the very first GOOD dishes that I ever cooked. Thank you, Tony!
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sugar (I usually use a bit more cuz I love the caramelized sugar)
That’s right! There are only 5 ingredients.
You will also need a 9″ Pyrex pie plate, a trivet or folded kitchen towel and a larger oven-proof pan that will hold the pie plate and some hot water.
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients (except sugar) in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
For the next part, set out what you will need. Time will be of the essence as you prepare the caramelized sugar and pour it into a Pyrex pie plate. Have it sitting on a trivet, or folded kitchen towel, ready for the molten sugar.
You will need to work quickly once the sugar is ready to
Pour sugar into a small sauce pan. Over high heat, gently stir until sugar begins to melt. I like to use a wooden spoon.
Continue stirring as sugar starts to caramelize.
It will begin to look clumpy. Don’t worry. Keep stirring.
Be sure that the sugar does not boil over or burn. Simply lift the pan off the heat if begins to boil over.
After most of the sugar clumps have dissolved, you may pour it into the Pyrex pie plate that has been set on something to protect the surface of the counter. It also serves to prevent the Pyrex from being too cold when you pour the hot caramelized sugar.
Tilt the pan to allow the sugar to coat the bottom. You must work quickly because the sugar will harden almost instantly. Don’t worry, though. The caramelized sugar will create a luscious syrup in the oven. (Notice the trivet that I got as a birthday gift during my first year teaching in 1983.)
One last whisk of the egg mixture before you pour it over the sugar.
Prepare a water bath for the pan. I set my pie plate in a larger cast iron skillet. Place the pie plate into a larger pan on the middle rack of the oven. Add some hot water to the outer pan until the water is half way up the side of the pie plate.
Bake for 50 minutes. Flan will jiggle joyfully. Don’t fret.
Allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Run a knife around the edge of the pie plate. Invert onto A SERVING PLATE THAT HAS A LIP AROUND THE EDGE! The liquified sugar mixture will spill out onto the plate. You’ll have to restrain yourself from lapping it up.