Et oui !!! C’est la canicule !!! (the heat wave) here in France….I know it is probably hotter in lots of places in the world…but Paris, in particular, is not prepared for the heat….have you seen few places have air-conditioning? And nothing like that or ceiling fans in the Hausmannian apartments, so when it gets hot, you feel it !!!!
And if you are a foodblogger and you try to photograph your flan with whipped cream at 3pm? What is worse, I noticed that something was going wrong with my espuma siphon…the gas was leaking…result? The “Chantilly” was merely a foamy thing…did I have the time to make another Chantilly? No way!!! since I had three “birds of pray” around me (read: my children) plate on one hand, spoon on the other, saying in unison: “Come on, mum! No more pictures….” So, blogging “live” from super-hot Paris, with melted Chantilly cream, Cristina and her caramel flan……
The Caramel Flan is something I inherited from my grandparents…..did I ever tell you? My four grandparents were Spanish, so I grew up with this dessert. In my opinion, few things in this world rival the simple effectiveness of this flan: it is easy to make (you don’t need Pierre Hermé here…) but then few things soothe your palate with its unctuosity as this flan…. I love how consistent it is (you see it didn’t melt in spite of the temperature!), its velvety appearance, how the cherries reflect on this caramel…! I love seeing my children (and husband!) licking their spoons….and my daughter M. carefully measuring the area of the portions in cm2….Is there a better reward for a cook?
Even if I had my recipe, I checked in the internet to see how people in some other countries made the flan: I noticed that there is a Mexican tradition where they use condensed milk plus powdered milk…some others use cream…., the French “flan pâtissière” is a distant cousin, since it is more like a pie, with its pâte brisée and the egg batter has cornstarch…Well, here I use just milk, unskimmed milk and a Madagascar (Bourbon) vanilla pod…well yes, quantity of eggs is incredible…but we don’t eat this every day, do we? and what is more, we eat just a portion….or two?
My personal touch was to add some cherries…but my son, “très argentin”, decided to eat it the Argentinian way.…that is with a generous spoonful of Chantilly cream, and an even more generous (almost decadent) scoopful of dulce de leche!
Want the recipe?To make this Caramel Flan, you will need: * unskimmed milk, 1 litre * Madagascar vanilla pod, 1, cut lenghtwise and grated * eggs, 6 + yolks, 2 * sugar, 300gr * some cherries, for decoration. * whipped cream (home-made please! not the supermarket one!!) * one flan mold (I could not find one here in Paris, so I used the Savarin one, but the true Spanish flan mold, rippled, will make your flan look much nicer!)
Pre-heat your oven 160°C. In a saucepan, take the milk and the vanilla beans and pod to a boil. Turn off the heat. Let it infuse 30′ minimum. Whisk the eggs, yolks and 200gr sugar till the mixture whitens. Fold in the milk (without the vanilla pod). Combine well.
Put the rest of the sugar (100gr) in the flan mold with 2 tablespoons of water, and this directly on the fire, medium heat, till a nice caramel is formed. Pour the egg/milk batter in the flan mold. Bake in a “bain Marie” 35/40′ till the batter is set. Let it cool. Cover with a film wrap. Refrigerate at least 12 hours.
The problem with this type of flan is unmolding it….unless you know this trick…the longer caramel stays in the fridge, the softer it becomes (this is why a croquembouche is never kept in the fridge), so respect the refrigeration time!!! It is better to make it the day before. Nevertheless, if you still have trouble unmolding it, just sink your mold in hot water for a few seconds, and the caramel will melt!