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Flan, pronounced [FLAHN] is used as a term to describe the Spanish, Portuguese or Mexican version of Creme Caramel normally baked in a bain marie* and unmold onto a plate for serving. You will only need five simple ingredients to make this easy and quick flan recipe. This flan recipe key ingredient is condensed milk, which is a special blend of milk and sugar from which water has been removed by a special vacuum process, yielding a very thick, sweet product that can last for years without refrigeration if unopened. Try this quick and easy dessert recipe. The perfect make-ahead dessert recipes!

One (14 fl. oz) can condensed milk
14 fl. oz whole milk
3 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped or 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated white sugar, for the caramel

1. Make the caramel by melting 1 cup sugar in a pan, over low heat. Keep your eye on it. If it burns you will have to start over. It is easier to clean if you use a non stick pan. Immediately pour the caramel into a 8-inch mold and quickly swirl it around to cover the bottom and a little up the sides. WARNING: IT IS VERY HOT! You have to be quick because the caramel hardens once it starts to cool down. The caramel should have cooled down before you pour the egg mixture in it, place in the roasting pan and set aside.

2.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, bring a kettle of water to a boil for the water bath. Blend the whole milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and eggs in a blender until completely mixed. Pour the flan mixture through a metal strainer right into the caramelized mold.

3. Place the mold into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Carefully transfer to the middle oven rack. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Test the flan to see if it’s done by inserting a knife near the center. If the flan is still soft, let it cook longer until a knife inserted again comes out clean.

4. Remove from the oven carefully and let it cool on the counter to room temperature. Then cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. To serve run a knife around the inside of the mold to loosen the flan and lay a plate on top of the mold then carefully flip it over and slide the mold off.

* Bain Marie (pronounced BAN-mah-REE) or water bath, consists of placing a container of food in a large shallow pan of warm water, that surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces, and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep cooked food warm. THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, Sharon Tyler Herbst, Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995.

Posted on Jan 27, 2008
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