Flan, a creamy custard topped with caramel sauce, dates back to the Roman empire and was often made to use up extra milk and eggs. It became popular all over Europe (including Spain) and when Columbus came to America it is said that he introduced the dish to the natives and it then became popular all over North America, even Mexico. Spain invaded Mexico in the 1500s and they had a major influence over the Mexican diet and flan was surely a common dish. Flan is sometimes made in individual serving dishes, but this one is made in one dish, and you slice it into the desired portions sizes.
- 1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs, (room temperature)
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 13 ounce cans evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- You will need a 9 inch glass or metal pie plate (the kind you would bake a pie in) and a additional large baking pan or dish that you can place the pie plate in for a water bath.
- Start by pouring one cup of sugar into a warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir the sugar.
- After a few minutes, it will begin to melt and brown. When it is fully melted and sufficiently browned and gooey it becomes caramel. If you have a candy thermometer, this will be about 320 to 350 degrees.
- Once the caramel has reached its golden brown color, quickly pour it into the pie plate, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides.
Preparing the Custard
- In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together for about a minute or until they are thoroughly combined and beginning to become frothy.
- While mixing the eggs, slowly pour in the condensed milk, followed by the evaporated milk then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar and the vanilla.
- Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.
Baking the Flan
- Pour the custard mixture into the caramel-lined pie plate.
- Place the pie plate in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill the baking dish (not inside the flan) with about one inch of hot water so that the pie plate is surrounded with water, but not floating. If you can work quickly, it is easiest to pull out an oven rack just far enough so you can put the baking dish in, add the pie plate and add the water, while it is already on the rack. Then you just need to push the rack in. If you have steady hands, you can assemble the water bath on the table or counter and carry it to the oven.
- Bake the flan for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If knife comes out clean, it's ready.
Serving the Flan
- Remove and let cool. Let the flan cool in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.
- When you are ready to serve it, place a serving dish over the flan and turn the whole thing over so that the Flan comes onto the serving dish. The caramel sauce will flow over the top of the custard, and you can scrape out more caramel if it sticks to the sides.
- Enjoy immediately. You can refrigerate the leftovers for up to 48 hours.