Flan is not something you can just whip out in an hour or two. It is definitely make-ahead, but still not to difficult.
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I used the fat-free variety)
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sprinkle the sugar in a large heavy skillet or saucepan. Add NOTHING else. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until sugar melts and turns light brown. So that you won't be intimidated or wondering if you're doing it right, here's a series of pics on this progression.
In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add remaining three ingredients. Whisk until mixed. Pour custard mixture over syrup in cakepan.
Cover pan with foil and place in a large shallow pan. Add hot water to pan to depth of 1 inch. I added the water after setting the sheet on the baking rack in the oven.
Bake at 325 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Don't worry if it still jiggles as though it's still liquidy. As long as the knife comes out clean, you're safe.
Remove pan from water bath, and uncover; cool completely on a wire rack.
After it has cooled, cover again and chill at least 8 hours.
Loosen edges of flan with a spatula.
And invert (quickly) onto a rimmed serving plate, letting melted caramel drizzle over top. I set my plate over the pan, then flipped.
Isn't it purty?
And the taste.... Oh. My. Stars. Sweet, but not heavy. And oh so smooth. Reminiscent of creme brulee, without all the cream and the crusty top. Simply delish.
So who's ready for a slice, because this one's on the house? (Shhh....don't tell Ruthy.)
What is Cinco de Mayo?
Well, like I said, today it's really an excuse to party, but in reality it's a Mexican holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. Ill equipped Mexicans took a stand against the massive French army that was invading Mexico, and, against all logic, won a huge victory. It was short-lived, but the euphoria of an unlikely victory against overwhelming odds is remembered every May fifth.
And you thought we just talked about food :-)