Mexican Flan

December21

I could be getting up to date on the Winnipeg restaurant reports that I have piling up but I can’t stop dreaming of our upcoming time on Isla Mujeres. 

Maria

One of the most wonderful aspects about our precious Isla Mujeres is that islanders are known by their food specialties: there is Tony the Rib man, D’s favourite Juice man, Maria the Pepita lady and The Flan Lady.  We pass the latter on our walk to and from the zocalo.  She has a cart which she parks outside of her house and it is illuminated by a single light bulb.  I am more inclined to go for a coconut ice cream or lime Popsicle but for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about the flan lady.

Juice Man

I am quite certain that this is not the recipe that she follows.  This one comes from Cocina Islena, Recipes from the Kitchens of Isla Mujeres-a fund-raiser by PEACE Isla Mujeres:

“Flan is a recipe that dates back to ancient Rome.  It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs.  The Romans, with eggs in surplus, along with the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes-one of which turned out to be this custardy misture known as flan.  It was originally a savoury dish (not sweet but similar to quiche fillings and frittatas).  Flan survived the fall of the Roman Empire, medieval times, and eventually was taken to the new world by the Spanish.  The Spanish version is sweet instead of savory, and is now especially associated with Mexico.

1 c sugar

12 oz. evaporated milk

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

3/4 c milk

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

2 t vanilla

1 c Media Crema (substitute: equal parts sour cream & heavy cream)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Make the caramel:  Have ready a deep 9 inch glass pie plate and a pair of oven mitts.  Pour the sugar into a small heavy saucepan.  Set it over medium-low heat until the sugar starts to liquefy and form clumps.  Stir slowly and constantly; the sugar will eventually liquefy completely and then begin to colour.  Pay careful attention to the caramel at this point; once it starts to colour, it will darken quickly.  Remove the pan from the heat when the caramel is the colour of a bright, shiny penny.  Scrape all the caramel into the pan, put on the mitts, and grab the pie plate firmly.  Carefully but quickly rotate the pan so the bottom and halfway up the sides of the plate are coated with caramel.  Set the prepared pan in a shallow roasting pan.

 Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla in a blender jar.  Blend on a very low speed a few seconds, just until the eggs are blended,  Add the Media Crema and blend a few seconds, until smooth.  Let stand for 1 minute, and then skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Slide the oven rack out halfway and set the roasting pan with the caramel-lined pie plate on the rack.  Pour the custard mix into the pie plate.  Pour enough water from the kettle to the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the plate.  Bake about 1 hour until the centre of the flan is set.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature in the water bath.  Refigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

 To serve, centre a large plate over the flan and with one quick flip, invert the pan over the plate.  Give it a few seconds; the flan will slip right out of the mold and onto the plate.  Scrape any caramel left in the mold over the flan.  Serve chilled.  Serves 8.”

Kath’s quote: “Custard:  A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow, and the cook.”-Ambrose Bierce


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