One thing I inherited from my grandfather was an ecstatic love for sweets. A while back, I wrote about my experience of making flan for my him and my grandmother. The recipe was hers. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but the flan was the last dessert we would make for Papa Roger before he died.
I haven't had flan since, but was reminded of the creamy custard last night, when Colin announced out of the blue, "I don't think I like flan." We were watching Iron Chef on the Food Network, but there was no flan on the menu.
I looked at him quizzically. "Of course you do," I said.
"Yeah, you like creme brulée, right? And creme caramel? It's all just custard really."
"Oh," he said. "It's a good thing creme brulée isn't called custard. I wouldn't like it as much." I knew he was teasing me. Sort of. But I can't have a boyfriend of mine disliking flan. No sirree. I'll just have to make it for him to prove that I'm right. And there's no thing like the real thing, homemade and all.
And for all of you out there who think you don't like flan and for all of you out there who absolutely crave it, here is the recipe, courtesy of my grandmother:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 cup milk
3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yokes
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 2 teaspoons light or dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Have ready a heatproof glass casserole/bowl or 8 individual molds. In a small saucepan melt sugar over moderate heat stirring frequently, until sugar is a dark, caramel-colored liquid. Remove from heat and pour into mold. Quickly grasp mold to coat bottom and sides as much as possible with the caramel. (A neat even coating is not necessary.) Let mold cool 5 to 10 minutes while caramel hardens.
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Put the sweetened condensed milk, milk, eggs, egg yolks and flavorings into an electric blender. Cover and blend 8 to 10 seconds at medium speed to mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into caramel-lined mold. Put mold in a larger pan filled with hot water to a depth of about 1 inch. Bake for 1 hour until custard is set and a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove mold from water. Cool and refrigerate. When ready to serve, cover mold with an inverted serving platter. Hold mold and platter together and turn them over. Lift away the mold. Caramel will fall as a liquid sauce over the custard. Makes 8 to 10 servings.