Thursday, March 29, 2012
Where Flan and I Make Peace, Warts and All
Flan and I, we aren't simpatico. Not that I blame it for (usually) not being chocolate; I enjoy plenty of custard desserts that aren't chocolate. I like creme brulee, but flan lacks creme brulee's crust of burnt sugar. I like creme caramel, but flan's caramel is puddled on the plate rather than easily confined in a custard cup. I honestly believe my dislike of flan comes from it being served at virtually every gathering I attended while living in Miami.
Poor flan. I went into making this recipe with the cautious mistrust of one who KNOWS something is going to go wrong. I was making it to take to my PEO meeting, and the flan didn't let me down, but I let it down.
I made the recipe as written in Baking From My Home to Yours, and it was surprisingly easy to make, not at all temperamental save the hot water bath it likes to bask in.
Its precious caramel? I unmolded the flan before driving to my meeting, over hill, dale and rush hour freeway traffic it slithered all over the serving plate, caramel slurping off the plate into the carrier, until it reached my meeting almost dry, its serving plate practically floating in a sea of caramel. The ladies loved it, thought it was a great flan and, being polite, didn't mention the lack of caramel. I tasted the tiny sliver that they left behind, and I had to agree that it was tasty, with a richness and balance I don't remember my childhood flans having. Maybe my lifelong dislike of flans was because I'd never had the benefit of tasting Dorie's flan. This flan was one I can see letting into my life on occasion, no judgment for past wrongs. It would be delightful made with orange or vanilla sugar, and I can't wait to try the coconut milk alternative.