IS IT TUESDAY ALREADY?
Is it Tuesday already? It was Tuesday just last week! With Easter and all the other holidays this month, Tuesday crept up kind of fast. I've been busy baking like all the other Tuesday bakers. When I joined a few weeks ago, I was member # 76. As write this post, member # 102 just joined. This all happened in a little over a week! Dorie Greenspan has her own blog, and last week she gave Tuesdays With Dorie a BIG thumbs up! That would account for the wild rush!
TUESDAYS WITH DORIE ~ ANOTHER AWESOME RECIPE
For those coming in a little late, Tuesdays With Dorie is a group of more than 100 members baking their way through Dorie's book BAKING: FROM MY HOME TO YOURS. Each week someone else takes their turn choosing a recipe from the book. Every Tuesday, we all post the recipe, photos and all our triumphs. Hence the name, Tuesdays With Dorie! This weeks recipe ~ Caramel-Topped Flan ~ was chosen by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon.
If you get a chance, make sure to stop by all the entries and check out their Flans. I'm
sure you'll be surprised at how similar and yet very different each baker can be! We already have our assignment for next week ~ Gooey Chocolate Cakes! Can't wait!
First, let me say I was very excited at the thought of making a flan. I love caramel and I'm a sucker for a real silky custard. So, this should have been one of my triumphs, right?
Well, my first hiccup was an egg I dropped on the floor just as my sugar was starting to turn amber, and as Dorie put it "at the first whiff of smoke"! I turned around and the egg was dripping down the counter, cupboards, my pants and the floor. Then I stepped in it! It distracted me but I caught the caramel just in time!
After I put it in the hot pan like the directions said, I swirled it around quickly before it hardened up. I remember saying to John, "Is this all there is? Shouldn't there be more caramel? Something isn't right." I went back to "The Book" and I did it exactly the way the instructions said to. We shall see.......
I used a mixer to whip the eggs instead of doing it by hand with a whisk. (Did I cheat? ~ Nah, just saved some time and a sore elbow) I almost questioned lining the water bath pan with paper towels, but it did make sense to diffuse some of the direct heat on what should be a delicate custard.
The oven I was using wasn't mine and it must be way off because I had to leave it in an extra 15 minutes until the knife came out clean. No biggy!
I waited too late in the day to make this flan. By the time I should have been unmolding it, my good light was gone to take pictures. I went back to the book to make sure it would be OK to leave it in the pan overnight. YUP! If Dorie says we can, I will! Then I went to bed with visions of Caramel Flan dancing in my head.
WHERE'S ALL MY FREAKIN' CARAMEL?
The next morning, with a camera in my hand, I set out to unmold my beautiful creation. I flipped it over on a pretty plate and the flan slid out just as the recipe said it would. But, but, but....where was all the caramel? I went through all this work for a piddly amount of caramel?
I went back over the recipe and through what's left of my mind. I stared at the lovely picture in the book. Where was all my freakin' caramel? I WANT MORE CARAMEL!
After conferring with some of my fellow Dorie groupies, the final word was that there just wasn't enough caramel. Unless Dorie says otherwise, the only conclusion I can come up with, is that Dorie and the photographers decided that double or triple the caramel would make for great, gooey photos for a big, juicy cookbook! Speaking of Dorie's cookbook...Don't miss my Suite101 article Baking: From My Home To Yours ~ A Cookbook Review.
WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?
The flan was, as promised, absolutely delicious. Silky smooth, with a light caramel taste. It cut well, very clean with no jagged edges. Because of the lack of caramel, it looked rather lonely sitting on a big plate. So, I made a quick chocolate ganache ~ just enough to add some pizazz ~ and decorated the plates and individual slices.
My rating? I gave this flan "4 CHICKS!" While I was writing, another 2 Chicks crashed the party. They were obviously looking for more caramel! Naughty chicks!
All in all, it was a great excuse to get my custard fix! I would definitely make it again, this time with more caramel, AND I would make two! That flan disappeared faster than my tax refund!
CARAMEL-TOPPED FLAN: THE RECIPE
For the Caramel: [MY NOTES: I will definitely double this next time]
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice
For the Flan:
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.
Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan -not a nonstick one- in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.
To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.
Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.
To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil. [MY NOTES: I would simmer a split vanilla bean with the cream next time for more flavor]
Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. [MY NOTES: I whisked all this in the Kitchen Aid mixer. I thought, Why do this by hand when the end-result will be the same?] Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.
Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don't worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. [MY NOTES: I let it sit overnight with no problems.]
When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.