Allow me to introduce myself. I am The Most Interesting Flan in the World. Other flans wish they were me, but alas, there is no way for them to be. They must be satisfied with standing in my shadow. It is not too bad for them, though. The sun shines even in my shadow, because I am The Most Interesting Flan in the World.
I was born of a Zombie Pumpkin, yet I live. The Zombies have made me their Idol. I don’t blame them, poor souls.
Caramel was not content to only Enrobe me. It wanted to be Inside me as well, so I allowed it, as I was feeling chilled. Caramel brought along some espresso powder, to help fuel my magnificence. Because I am The Most Interesting Flan in the World.
The chickens fought over whose eggs were to be included.
I contain a healthy dose of salt, because I am neither bland nor insipid. Restaurant crème brûlée sulks in my presence.
I am The Most Interesting Flan in the World.
You want to make me. You know you do. If you make me, you will win the lottery. Your IQ will automatically go up 15 points. You will never have to iron again. You will no longer need your water purifier.
For the Caramel
- 3/4 cup sugar, (I used organic)
- 1/4 cup water
For the Flan
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon mace
- 1 pound (16 oz) pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
- 4 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Caramel
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil.
- Cover the pan and let boil 2 minutes to wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking until the mixture is a deep amber. Don't stir, but swirl the pan gently to keep the mixture moving. You can stir a bit once it has started to turn amber, but to be on the safe side so it doesn't recrystallize, it's best to swirl only.
- Immediately remove from the stove and either dip the bottom of the pan into a sink of ice water or have your pan(s) sitting on a very cold and very wet towel. Either will stop the cooking process quickly and help keep your caramel from continuing to darken.
- Pour an even layer of caramel into your pan(s). Tilt the pans to make sure the caramel covers the bottom(s) completely. If you are using metal pan(s), be sure to wear pot holders for this step as the pans will get very hot.
- Set the pan(s) aside to cool.
For the Flan
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Have ready a large roasting pan, large enough to hold your pan(s) with plenty of room left over. You don't want to crowd the pans.
- Put some water on to boil.
- In a large pot, heat the milk, cream, espresso powder, cinnamon, ginger, and mace until steaming. Keep hot.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, yolks and salt until well incorporated. Set aside.
- Bring the 1 cup of sugar and the water to a boil in a pan that is much larger than you think you need.
- Cover the pot and boil for 2 minutes to wash any crystals off the sides of the pan.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking until the sugar is a deep amber color.
- Turn off the heat and pour in about 2 cups of the hot milk mixture. Be careful, it will boil up and rise and sputter.
- Add in the rest of the hot milk mixture and stir until the caramel is smooth.
- Temper the hot milk/caramel mixture into the pumpkin mixture, stirring until completely incorporated.
- Whisk in the 2 Tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, if necessary.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large spouted pitcher. (You may have to do this in two stages if your pitcher isn't large enough. I did).
To Bake and Serve
- Arrange your baking pan(s) in the large roasting pan.
- Slide out the middle oven rack and place the roasting pan on it.
- Carefully pour the flan mixture into your pan(s), filling them almost all the way to the top.
- Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of your baking pan(s).
- Carefully push the oven rack back in.
- Loosely tent this whole apparatus with some aluminum foil, making sure it doesn't dip into your flan mixture.
- Bake until a knife inserted about an inch from the center of the flan comes out clean (or, if you're making individual flans, check the very center). For a large flan, this can take a very long time--maybe as long as 2 to 2 1/2 hours. It might only take 30-45 min for individual flans. Resist the urge to turn the oven up. If they bake too quickly, the flan will curdle.
- You want the flan to be just set, so it should still wiggle some, like Jell-o.
- Turn off the oven and open the oven door. Let the flan cool in the water for about 1/2 hour.
- Carefully remove the pan(s) from the roasting pan and set on a rack to cool to room temperature.
- Cover the flan with plastic wrap, pulling it very taut so the wrap doesn't stick to the flan.
- Chill for several hours or overnight.
- Two hours before serving, take the flan out of the refrigerator. If you have made individual flans, allow about 40 minutes.
- To plate, run a thin, sharp knife around the insides of your pan.
- Use a platter (or dessert plates) with a rim that is wide enough to hold the flan plus all the caramel that will come running out when you plate it.
- Hold the platter/dessert plate tightly over the flan, and flip the flan and platter together and remove the pan. You may have to do a little shaking and wiggling, but it should come out pretty easily.
- This dessert does not really need any accompaniment, but you can top it with some lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored however you like.
I made this as one large flan. It is a bit tricky to serve, so especially if you are planning to serve it for a large gathering such as Thanksgiving, I suggest you make them individually. Then, you won't have to worry about cutting and plating slices since each will be unmolded on individual plates. This amount of mix will yield 8-9 6 oz individual flans.
Feel free to add an extra teaspoon or two of espresso powder. You may have to play with the amount of sugar in that case, but otherwise, go for it. Ditto with the spicing, but do try to restrain yourself and let the sweet pumpkin shine through.
If you are a Fan of Flan, I do hope you give this a try–it really is an excellent dessert!
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.
One more thing: My dear friend Betty Ann from Asian in America also made flan last week, a traditional Filipino flan. So, we decided we’d smash our posts together in a Flan-A-Palooza! Here is Betty Ann’s beautiful flan–she said she couldn’t get a picture of the whole dessert because her sons–who are grown, by the way, and should have more self control–dug in immediately! That just goes to show how yummy it is! So please go check out Betty Ann’s Filipino Leche Flan!