Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with the Texan

Today we're celebrating Cinco de Mayo at the cafe. Yes, I know it's only uno de Mayo, but here in Texas, it's an excuse to fiesta the whole week. So after you've enjoyed some enchiladas, tacos, guacamole, and more jalapenos than you can shake a stick at, join me for my favorite Mexican dessert--flan.

Flan is not something you can just whip out in an hour or two. It is definitely make-ahead, but still not to difficult.

Your ingredients are:
  • 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.

 Finally, all of the sugar has melted and there are no clumps to be seen.

Quickly pour hot caramel into a lightly oiled 9-inch round cakepan, tilting to coat bottom evenly, then set aside. (Caramel syrup will harden and may crack. Don't worry.)

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's that?

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 :-)


  1. wow for once i have all but one ingredient but not the pans LOL! I've eaten this at one of my fave restaurants - Lopez if you're ever in southwest Houston!) but never thought about making it myself. also never knew you could melt sugar! hoo boy.
    yep this week is looking up for avocado sales and salsa sales and tortilla sales...love cinco de mayo week here!!


    1. I'm right there with you, Susanna. Bring on the avocados and salsa!

  2. I'm so glad that you gave detailed pictures about the melting sugar. I would never have had the nerve to try it otherwise! I had no idea that you could actually melt sugar! I figured it would just burn. And the end result..wow! Pretty classy. I'll have to try this for a summer birthday.

    1. The first time I melted sugar I had a lot of trepidation. How could I possibly start with something dry and end up with a liquid? And that's exactly why I posted so many pix. Now, if you had the heat too high and failed to stir, I imagine it would burn. And wouldn't that smell lovely? Oy!

  3. Mindy, this looks AMAZING!!! I love flan!

    About how long does it take to brown the sugar?

    1. Give it a try, Missy. It does take a while to melt the sugar. I didn't time myself, but I bet it was a good twenty to thirty minutes. At first, you think it isn't working, but once it starts melting, you know you're on your way. Just don't get too eager and crank up the heat. Bad joo-joo. And like I said, that's really the hardest part of the recipe. Which really isn't that hard, just time consuming.

  4. Thanks for the recipe - AND the step by step instructions, Mindy! Like Missy, I love flan. At one church we went to years ago, one of the ladies would always bring flan to the covered dish dinners - but I was always too nice to take too big of a piece... But now I only have to share it with the family!

    For the first time in ages, we're living in a place without a large Mexican population. I was kind of surprised when Cinco de Mayo passed by without a blip last year - but our population here is mostly Scandinavian and Lakota.

    My dear husband is having a "Quatro de Mayo" celebration for the hospital employees on Friday - but that's about as close as we'll get (unless we go to On the Border on Saturday!)

    1. ROFLOL, Jan! Quatro de Mayo. Too funny.

      And hey, On the Border is better than no Mexican food at all:-)

    2. I LOVE On the Border!! They have a great salad if you're being good (the one with chicken and citrus dressing). And if you're not being good, their chips and salsa are fantastic.

      (I'm usually both good and bad!) LOL

  5. Oh, I haven't had flan in years. I am making this for the kiddos for Cinco de Mayo this week. We always try to do cultural things to recognize celebrations... How fun is this one, Texan???

    Thank you so much for sharing it! And I love Creme Brulee, my first taste was in TEXAS!!!!! I was there for ACFW and we went to Chamberlains Steak House.... And I had my first creme brulee.

    I am a huge fan of custards of all kinds... Puddings, ice creams. Love it!

    1. Ruthy, you can use the melting of sugar for a science experiment.

      I'm with you on this one. I love, love, LOVE custard. Come to think of it, I haven't made a good old fashioned custard pie in ages. Hmm...I might have to add that to the list.

    2. I adore creme brulee! Ruthy, you need to make one and show us how. Go buy one of the those gas flame things to make the crunchy topping. :) Of course, no kids get to use that one!

  6. I've never had flan. They need to call it something else. Flan just doesn't ...sound good. But it looks delicious!

    1. LOL, Donna!! You're so right. :)

    2. You know, I never thought about it, Donna, but it does sound a little strange. How about we just call it yummy? :-)

  7. We have this all the time. My husband is Hispanic and it is a traditional recipe. I sometimes add cream cheese as well. There are so many varieties, but mostly the traditional recipe is our favorite. Some people call it creme caramel if you don't like the word flan.

  8. Madelyn, adding cream cheese sounds so good! It's kind of like butter. Anything you add it to is better. :)