Spanish and Mexican cuisine is very similar in that both cultures use a lot of spices, and combinations of flavors in their foods. This particular flan recipe incorporates the traditional flavors of Mexico: coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and just a hint of orange! This is a fairly simple dessert to make, and not terribly time consuming- about 25-30min. actual prep time.
Yield: 6-8 individual flans (depending on size)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1) Set out your ramekins in a roaster or 2in. pan. Do not grease! Just make sure they are clean and dry.
2) In a small pot, combine sugar and water on a medium to low heat, stirring constantly until it begins to bubble. Turn down to low heat, stirring occasionally. This will take 10-15min. to caramelize. The sugar may begin to "clump" or crystalize at one point- don't freak out! Prior to it turning a beautiful amber color, (which is what you want), the mixture will clear and thicken. Once it turns amber in color, remove from heat, and quickly, (but carefully), pour a little in the base of all ramekins. Swirl cups to go up sides if you wish. (I don't do that personally, I just keep it at the bottom.) ***If your sugar mixture is still cloudy for some reason when done, don't worry! Pour it anyways.
4 eggs + 2 yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2c Whipping or heavy cream
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 split vanilla bean (or 1/2 t vanilla extract)
1t orange zest
1 1/2 T Espresso powder
Pre-heat oven to 325F
1) In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together.
2) In a pot, heat the cream, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, (if using extract add with espresso after cream is heated), and orange zest on a low heat. Heat until it comes to a simmer- do not allow to boil! Remove from heat.
3) Add the espresso powder to the cream mixture- stirring to make sure it's well combined. Discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean with a slotted spoon.
4) Temper the cream and eggs.
"Tempering" is a term referring to the process in which you add your hot cream to the egg mixture a little at a time, while vigorously whisking, so you don't scramble your eggs! No one likes lumpy custard!!
5) Pour the custard into the ramekins filling them 3/4 way up.
6) In the pan with the ramekins, take some hot water, and fill the pan half way. (**This is called a water bath.)
7) Bake at 325F until custard is set. (About 30-40min.)
8) Once cooled, place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
9) When ready to serve, simply take a knife and loosen the edges by going all the way around the edges of cups. Invert on plates, and enjoy!