Spanish Flan in Ramekins

Spanish Flan in Ramekins
Spanish Flan in Ramekins

Spanish Flan in Ramekins

Preheat oven to 350°F and have the baking pan you’ll use for the water bath at hand. This flan is lower in fat and sugar than classic versions.

For the flan custard filling:
3 large eggs
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1 can (14oz) condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar

For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
water
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Making the Caramel

Place 1 cup sugar, lemon juice and just enough water to make the sugar look like wet sand and spread in the bottom of a saucepan. Carefully brush the sides of the pan with water so the sugar won’t crystallize on the sides. Heat on medium-high heat until the sugar melts and is bubbling evenly. Cook until the caramel is a medium golden color. Be patient, don’t stir, but you may swirl the pan to allow for even coloration. As soon as caramel reaches desired color, remove from heat and pour into 7 ramekins, working quickly. Tilt ramekins to cover the bottom if there is time. Caramel will harden quickly in containers.

Meanwhile, put the eggs in a blender and mix for a few seconds. Then add evaporated milk and condensed milk, vanilla and sugar and mix for a few more seconds (don’t overdo). Pour into the caramel-coated ramekins, filling 2/3 full. Place all in a large shallow pan, then add boiling water to make a water bath (about 1-inch). Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Flans are done when they have begun to set (centers jiggle slightly). They may not seem done, but will continue to cook after removal from oven. Remove from the oven, taking care not to spill the hot water. Let cool while sitting in the water bath until they can be handled. If you cook them too long, the texture becomes less creamy.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours before inverting and serving. This wait time helps more of the hardened caramel revert to a liquid state giving it a syrup-like consistency. Immediately before serving, run the tip of a paring knife around the edges, invert a small plate with curved sides (to contain syrup) over each flan, quickly turn it over and gently remove the ramekin. Some hardened caramel may remain in the dish, that is not unusual. You won’t need it all anyway. You should have creamy, picture-perfect flans crowned with a syrupy golden caramel. Garnish with a sprig of mint or nasturtiums in summer. Can be made a day ahead. Serves 7. (Will keep in refrigertaor for a week if carefully wrapped.)

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