This is my last post (for now) of my mom's recipes. Or possibly my last post for a while if I am swept away by this hurricane!
Let's hope not.
Anyways, they say to save the best for last, and that is exactly what I did here! My mom's recipe for pudim flan is one of the best I've had. And she's not even Portuguese!
My father is from Portugal and this dessert is quite the tradition in our family. My mom fell in love with their flan and found a recipe for it in 1987 when Better Homes and Garden featured Portuguese recipes. Ecstatic with what she found, she made it immediately. The recipe didn't let her down and her flan measured up to the tried and true versions of my Portuguese relatives.
Flan can be tricky. It can be overcooked easily, air bubbles can form ruining it's creamy texture, the sugar can burn creating a bitter taste, or not entirely melt leaving you with small crunchy crystals. The recipe will not let you down! I think the secret is in using the condensed milk! Just follow these simple steps and you will have the richest, creamiest caramel flan!
In the meantime, stay safe New England! Irene is heading our way!
Note: Original recipe calls for only 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water, but my mom increases the sugar because we love the sauce and she skipped the water (for the syrup) since it evaporates anyways. She also omitted the additional sugar added in the custard because the condensed milk is sweet enough.
Caramel Flan (Pudim Flan)
adapted recipe by Jackie S.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can condensed milk
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
Teaspoon of vanilla
In a dry non stick skillet over medium heat add the sugar. It won’t look like it’s doing a thing or even melting for a bit till it reaches just the right temperature. You have to watch it. Every now and then give it a stir and it will stick and be clumpy and hard but just be patient and let it melt. All of a sudden you will see it start to melt and turn brown. The goal is to only let it get light to medium colored brown, like amber gold, and you must keep stirring once you see a glimmer of melting. It will reach this color very fast and once it does remove from heat otherwise it will get too dark and take on a burnt taste…throw away and start over if this happens.
Pour the syrup into a glass round baking dish and using pot holders, quickly turn the dish so that the sides are glazed with the syrup. It will set very quickly and the idea is to get the sides to be coated more-so than the bottom. That’s because when you invert it the next day, some of the syrup stays in the bottom and I like all I can get. Set aside.
Add all custard ingredients into a blender and process until well blended. Pour into glazed dish and put it into another larger pan with hot water so that he water comes up half the side of the flan dish.
Bake in 325 degree oven until knife inserted near the center comes out clean or it is slightly brown on top and feels set if you jiggle the pan a bit. About 1 hour.
Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
When time to serve, use a knife to just cut around the edge and invert onto platter. Spoon out as much of the syrup as you can so everyone gets enough.
Secret: By omitting the water in the melting of the sugar you get a stronger caramel taste that almost has a coffee flavor and by omitting the sugar in the custard it’s not too sweet.