Mmm. What a delectable treat. A creamy custard concocted for the sole purpose of coercing and coddling your tongue with countless culinary sensations, strong enough to turn even the most crass curmudgeon into a charming cherub. Yet again jumping off the angel food cake, I was left with 12 fresh yolks. Mom used a few to make some spectacular meatballs, but I still had about 9 left. What can one do with a massive amount of yolks? Quiche usually uses whole eggs, but custard uses yolks! But I wanted a twist…how about a crème caramel (= flan)?…and that is where the story begins.

mmm flan


I could point you here, but it would be equally kind of me to summarize the page. Apparently, Romans figured out savory flan after domesticating the chicken; they had a sweetened version with honey, but the caramelized sugar one came from the Spaniards. After the timely demise of our favorite empire, the sweet version survived the medieval times and made its way to Spain while the savory version made its way to England. Columbus, also apparently, brought flan over from Spain to the Americas when he sailed the ocean blue, hence why everyone in Mexico is gaga about the desert. The article goes on to talk about the semantics of the word “flan” but I just want to eat it.


As usual, my first attempt was to follow good old Alton. I must say the theory is quite sound, but there are definitely some things I would do differently next time.

oven preheat to 350° F
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 c half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar
In the saucepan, combine the milk, half-and-half, vanilla, and sugar. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. I didn’t have half-and-half, so I mixed heavy cream and lowfat milk — that seemed to work.
8 ramekins
Here is the bone of contention: Alton suggests using various toppings (whatever is lying around) like jams, preserves, butterscotch or fudge. Honestly, I tried quite a few toppings but the only one that worked was chocolate. I tried grape jelly (bad idea) and some apricot/orange preserves (too sweet). I think the traditional caramelized sugar works the best.

Place about a tablespoon of topping into the bottom of each of the ramekins

3 egg whites and 6 egg yolks Another bone of contention: how many egg whites to use. I was trying to use the yolks I had and I didn’t want to break any more eggs for this recipe. I also had a carton of *pasteurized* egg whites (the process destroys some of the egg proteins, so that may have affected the outcome). Basically what happened, was that after the flan was thoroughly chilled (the fresh ones were fine), some bubbles set up and the texture was grainy/bumpy? Not sure if that’s because I overmixed the mixture or because I didn’t exactly measure out 3 whites or if it was because of the pasteurized egg whites I used.

Place a mixing bowl on a rubber pad or a wet towel to prevent the bowl from spinning out of control. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining whole eggs and the yolks. Whip the eggs with a whisk until slightly thickened and lightened in color. While whisking the eggs, drizzle in about a quarter of the hot milk. Now whisk the tempered eggs back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture.

strainer Place a fine mesh strainer over a glass or stainless steel bowl with a spout. Pour the egg mixture through the strainer in order to catch any curdled egg bits or particles that may be in the mixture.
roasting pan or large pyrex dish
kettle of boiling water
Place the custard cups into the roasting pan. Evenly distribute the custard into the custard cups, going short on the first pass. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and pour boiling water into the pan just under the level of the custard.
- Cook the flans for about 40 minutes, or until they wobble slightly when the pan is wiggled, about 40 minutes. You can also insert a paring knife midway between the edge and the center. If it comes out clean, the flans are done. Using tongs, remove the cups from the pan to a towel-lined sheet pan. Allow the water in the roasting pan to cool before discarding. Cool, cover and chill.
plate Place a plate on top of a ramekin after cutting the sides free. Hold the plate/ramekin with both hands and quickly flip it over. Then give it a thump on the back and it will dislodge. Remove the ramekin and you will have a handsome crème waiting for you


ingredients for milk part
heating the milk mix
filled ramekins
tempering the egg mix
final mixture
filling the cups
filled ramekins
putting them into oven with water bath
cooked flans
on a tray to cool
brother dousing the chocolate left in the ramekin after inverting it out
an apricot/orange preserve one topped with orange whipped cream
nice photo of my flans
very nice pic of flan 1
very nice pic of flan 2
very nice pic of flan 3


Good Eats Season 3 Episode 3 – Egg Files II – The Man With A Flan


flan wiki entry

flan on google images

flan on deviant art

flan history and more information

flan recipe I used


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