Last night we had Chicken Empanadas in the Cancun style. These are made with pressed masa rounds that are filled with (in this case) chopped chicken and deep fried. They definately fall under the 80/20 rule (simple: live “correctly” 80% of the time and you can indulge a little more with the other 20%). The added grease from frying makes them a little high on the calorie count.
Well, for dessert I wanted to make something special for my friend Doris (who actually made the Empanadas). She has asked in the past for flan and I can’t believe that I just now got around to making it for her.
This recipe makes 12 individual custard cups or one larger deep dish pan sized flan.
Lemon Kissed Flan- The Recipe
For the flan:
- 4 cups whole milk (I use evaporated milk as I never have fresh milk on hand)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- 5 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
For the caramelized sugar coating:
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
To prepare the caramelized sugar coating, spread the sugar evenly in the bottom of a heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat. It may take several minutes before the sugar begins to melt. Without stirring, watch the sugar closely as it begins to liquefy at the edges. All of it will slowly turn first into a yellowish and then golden syrup and finally into a brown caramel sauce.
When the liquefied sugar is turning from golden to brown, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. (If you miss this point, the sugar will quickly turn too dark and taste bitter and you will need to discard it and begin again.)
Working swiftly, pour the liquid caramel into 12 custard cups each 3 1/2 inches in diameter and tilt to cover the bottom and sides evenly. It is important to do this transfer quickly, as the change in temperature causes the caramel to solidify rapidly. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the milk and lemon zest over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the milk with the flavor of the lemons. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a bowl, combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar and whisk until foamy. Pour the cooled milk through a fine-mesh sieve held over the egg mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour the mixture into the coated custard cups.
Arrange the custard cups, not touching, in a large, deep baking pan or roasting pan.
Pull out the oven rack, put the baking pan on it, and pour boiling water to a depth of about 1 inch into the pan to create a water bath. Bake for about 1 hour, or until set when tested with a thin-bladed knife in the center .
Carefully remove the water bath from the oven, and then carefully remove the custards from the water bath and set aside to cool completely.
You can cover and refrigerate the cooled custards and serve them cold, or you can serve them at room temperature. One at a time, run the knife around the inside of each cup to loosen the edges of the flan and invert onto a dessert plate to serve.