Foods | Cooking
Hints & Tips
Photo from Kraft Foods.
A perfect Flan with dark chocolate - what could be better for a chocolate lover? Flan may be prepared in
a large flan dish or in individual ramekins. In Mexico, flans are usually served in small ramekins (custard cups).
Check out all of Linda's
Puddings, Creams, and Custard Recipes.
Chocolate Flan Recipe:
Puddings, Creams, and Custards,
Yields: 6 servings
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 90 min
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon water
5 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
3 ounces dark
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
eggs, room temperature
Prepare Caramel: In a heavy saucepan over low to medium-low heat, combine 1 cup sugar, water, and drop of lemon juice (the lemon juice keeps the mixture from
hardening or crystalling). NOTE: I find that maintaining a low heat, I have more control over the caramelizing process,
as it is really easy to burn.
Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to simmer. After sugar dissolves
and syrup is simmering, cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, without stirring. Hold handle of pan and gently tilt the pan off the heat to distribute
color evenly as sugar caramelizes. When sugar reaches a uniform golden brown (light amber) color, immediately remove from heat and pour into individual
ramekins or custard dishes, coating the bottoms evenly (tilt the dishes so that the caramel coats the bottom). Watch it carefully, it can go past the light
brown stage quickly and burn. Set aside and let cool.
Prepare Flan: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the milk to a slow simmer;
add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon sticks. Be careful not to bring it
to a full boil, and do not cover with a lid. Let simmer for one (1) hour.
Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Add and stir the chopped chocolate into the hot milk. Stir every 10 minutes or so until the chocolate has
been fully incorporated into the milk. At some point, a milk film will appear, but don’t worry about it, because you will strain the mixture later. In the last
10 minutes, add the vanilla extract, but not before, because it will evaporate with heat. Remove milk from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven at 325 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to middle of the oven.
While the milk cools, beat the eggs with a hand-held mixer at medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
This will make your custard a little fluffier than if you beat the eggs with a fork.
After the milk has cooled, pour the hot milk mixture through a fine-meshed strainer.
Add a few tablespoons of the hot milk to the eggs and stir. This will temper the eggs so they don't curdle. Repeat about three more times, then add the egg mixture to
rest of the milk in the pan and stir with a spoon. If you see any curdling, pour the mixture through a clean strainer again.
Definition of Water Bath or Bain-Marie (bahn mah-REE) - A hot water
bath or bain-marie are used to cook custards and baked eggs in the oven without
curdling or cracking, and also used to hold sauces and to clarify butter.
Water baths are most often used for egg-based dishes. The proteins in the eggs are very
heat sensitive and only need to be warmed to cook thoroughly. They will start to get firm at only 145 degrees. Cooking them
with a slow, gentle heat keeps the eggs soft and smooth.
Pour the mixture into the ramekins or pie pan and set into a large pan for the water bath.
If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of
newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.
Place pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove;
carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the custard cups.
The most common mistake people make in baking custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath.
Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil to eliminate a crust forming on the custard.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cups
you are using, but begin checking at 20 minutes and check back regularly. When the center of custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's
when you can remove it from the oven (the flans will continue to set as they cool). Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups or
pan from water bath and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
To unmold and serve, carefully dip bottom of each ramekin in a baking pan of hot water briefly. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin to loosen it
from the inside of the bowl. Wipe the outside of the mold dry, place an individual chilled serving plate (topside down) on top of each flan. Invert the
custard onto the plate and carefully lift off ramekin. If you’re using a pie pan or casserole dish, place a platter or cookie sheet
over the dish and invert quickly.
Makes 6 servings (depending on size of the custard cups).