Flan, it doesn’t get any more classic Cuban than that. Every good Cuban kid would argue with you to the death, that their Abuela made the best flan. However you should know that my Abuela made the best flan ever, and since this is my blog my word on the matter is final. Don’t come at me about your Abuela’s flan guys-
Making a classic Cuban Flan always seemed unattainable to me. When I am in the kitchen I always lean to savory. It’s where I feel comfortable. Pastry and dessert is something I leave to Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker. Besides THESE brownies, THESE brownies are so easy.
As you may or may not know from following me on Instagram, I have been working with my long time friend and Chef Ani Mezerhane on a cooking project that will be fully announced very soon.
During our time together we have covered and researched how to cook many different Cuban dishes. She finally convinced me to try out making a flan on my own. I was terrified. My Abuela, tias, and Ani they all made it look so easy. In life I have not learned much, but I have learned that nothing is as easy at it looks.
I gave it a try. I want you to know that the first three times I tried making the caramel, I failed. Tragically.
However I finally got it the fourth time. This flan was luscious, smooth and perfect. I think the recipe for the filling is out of this world. It’s simple and doesn’t require much, but it’s just delicious.
Thank you to Ani for taking this journey with me. I can’t wait to show you what we have been working on. In the mean time here is the Flan recipe that even a Flan making virgin could not mess up (too much).
What You Need for the Caramel:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
What You Need for the Flan:
- 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12-oz can of evaporated milk
- 4 oz of cream cheese (original full fat), at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 5 eggs
How to Make It
First you want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then set out your eggs and Cream Cheese ahead of time to reach room temperature. You have time, because it takes a little while to make the caramel.
Making the Caramel
Making the caramel take time and patience. Once you begin you will need to make sure you can stand over it, because you don’t want it to burn.
If you have a gas stove start with the heat on medium low. If you have an electric stove you need to turn your heat up to medium/medium high to really move it along.
In a flan mold, begin to melt the sugar over the heat. You cannot touch the mixture once it’s on the heat. Do not use a spoon or any utensil to stir. You should use a dish towel or pot holder to just move the mixture around. Do this until the mixture begins to turn a nice light amber color. This will take anywhere from 7-10 minutes depending on your stove’s heat. On electric it will take longer. You must follow its lead.
You need to wait for the color to change. Once you see that the mixture is turning that pretty amber color, remove the mixture from the heat. It will still continue to cook, so the color will begin to darken (don’t freak out).
Tilt the caramel onto the sides to coat the pan with the caramel, and leave it to cool.
While that cools work on the flan.
In a large food processor or blender, pour in your ingredients. If you don’t have either, you can pour into a large bowl and use an immersion blender. Either way you want to start with the Evaporated Milk, Condensed Milk, and then add the remaining ingredients. This ensures that the heavier ingredients won’t stick to the bottom. Blend. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor at least once to be sure nothing is stuck to the sides. That’s it!
Once your pan is no longer hot to the touch, and has cooled (this can take around 20 minutes) add the mixture to pan. Then place your flan pan, into a larger pan for it’s “Baño Maria”.
What is a Baño Maria?
A “Baño Maria” is when you are placing your flan into a larger pan, and then filling the larger pan about ¾ of the way with warm water. It sits in the water while cooking in the oven.
Pro Tip: We like to place the flan and larger pan into the oven first before filling it up with water, but you can do it however you like.
Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the flan from the oven, BUT leave it in the Baño Maria for 15 minutes. This helps keep the flan from temperature “shock”.
Then place the flan in the fridge, either overnight or for a few hours.
Turn over the flan when ready to serve.
*If some of the caramel is stuck to the pan you can heat it up on the stove to loosen up the caramel.
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