This was my first attempt to make flan, and it could not have been easier or turned out more perfect. I followed the instructions almost exactly but did take advice from other reviews. Here are the tips that worked for me:
1) I prepared my caramel in the microwave using the "wet" method by adding a 1/2 cup of water to the sugar in a pyrex measuring cup. It was ready in about 8 minutes on high, but did need to watched carefully. I started with 5 minutes and went up by 1-minute increments from there. I noticed that the caramel continued to darken after being removed from the microwave, literally while I was pouring it into my pan. I think another few seconds would have ruined it.
2) I poured and swirled my caramel in the pan immediately after removing from the microwave. This is crucial as it did harden very quickly. If there's any real skill involved in preparing this recipe correctly, this is it.
3) I prepared my custard in a blender so it was super smooth, and baked in a water bath rising halfway up the sides of my pan. 1 hour was not long enough for me as the custard was still completely liquid in the center. I ended up baking 20 minutes longer until the center was set but very jiggly.
The results were amazing. I brought the flan to a party and other guests raved. The custard was silken and the caramel was molten and luscious. I wouldn't bother to try any other recipes. This is it.
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This was my first attempt to make flan, and it could not have been easier or turned out more...