Friday, April 30, 2010

April Roundup

Congratulations to everyone that participated in this month's challenge. They all look delicious. Thanks to Jen for the pick.

Sweet Potato Flan

The Roman Empire, although largely known for its military prowess. Was also a society of invention. It brought us aqueducts.

Our current calendar. (Leap years included.)

Christianity (so they are who I have to thank for all of this Catholic guilt).

Modern neo-classic and Byzantine architecture (ummmm right....).


Tax collection (how that of all things withstood the Barbaric invasions, I will never understand. You would think it could have fallen off the truck somewhere along the way...or been shoved off. Forcefully. Now if only I could just figure out how to go back in time...).

Also. Flan. They brought us flan.

Yes. Unlike many of the formidable Roman monuments that were destroyed upon the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks. This wibbly wobbly dessert. With its flimsy four letter name.


I feel a sort of intimate connection with this delicacy. We are descendants of the same people, after all. We understand each other.

We are survivors.
Which is why I knew that this was the dessert to make for my friend Mari when she came over for dinner this week. Never mind the fact that I've never made it before. Or that there are rules against such things.

Flan and I have a connection. An indomitable bond. It wasn't going to do me wrong.

Topped with homemade whipped cream, this sweet potato flan was just the perfect cross between the more traditional creme caramel and a sweet potato pie. It had an almost smoky flavor, reminiscent of molasses. Complex and yet subtle. It, like many of the best things in life, got better with time. (And by time I mean two days. And that was pushing it. Seeing as how we came dangerously close to eating it all in one sitting.)

I personally think this would be perfect as a kind of quirky alternative to traditional Thanksgiving desserts. But it was also delicious on a pretty warm day at the end of April. A further testament to its invincibility.

Sweet Potato Flan
Serves 8, adapted from What's For Lunch Honey?

400 g sweet potato, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 lime, juiced
190 g sugar, separated
2 tbsp water
1 cup almond milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Place the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast them for 30 minutes but make sure they don't become too dark. Allow them to cool. Puree them in a food processor with the lime juice. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.

2. Stir half of the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the mixture takes on an amber brown color. Immediately pour the caramel into small ramekins or one 9-inch round cake pan. Save about 2 tbsp caramel in the saucepan. Swirl the caramel around the cake pan so that it covers the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides.

3. Add the milk to the remaining caramel in the saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the caramel dissolves. Whisk eggs in a bowl until frothy. Whisk in cream, salt, sweet potato puree, and remaining sugar. SLOWLY whisk the hot caramel-milk mixture into the egg mixture. (Really. Slowly. Otherwise the eggs will cook.) Pour back into the saucepan and heat for 1 minute. Pour into the baking pan or ramekins.

4. Place the pan inside a large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until just set in center, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from water. Chill 5 hours or overnight.

5. Serve topped with homemade whipped cream.

Posted by - Joanne

Orange Flavoured Flan

Posted by -Shri

Thank you for the challenge this month Flan II recipe [taken from All Recipes] given by Jen at Have the Cake ; a good post with excellent options. After having missed the tiramisu challenge that I really wanted to do, was looking forward to this one!

The original had several critical reviews and suggestions that pertained to the flavour and the sugar caramel. The tweaked recipe from the original uses the following:
1/2 Cup of white granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of Milk
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
4 whole eggs [organic brown eggs used here]
3/8th Cup of Sugar
1tsp of Vanilla extract
3/4 tsp grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 375 F
In a heavy-bottomed pan heat the sugar with a couple of tbsps of water until golden.
Coat the bottom of 6 ramekins [used my Corningware bowls]
Keep aside.
In a saucepan bring the milk and cream mix to a gentle simmer.
Turn the heat off.Beat the eggs to a ribbon-like consistency.
Add the warm milk in tbsps, stirring well after each addition.
Gently pour the egg-milk mixture into the milk,
Add sugar and mix well.
Put the pan on medium low heat and cook, stirring well for 5 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and the orange zest, mix well.
Take off the heat,
Strain the mix if needed.
Pour carefully into the 6 ramekins.
Line a roasting pan with a kitchen towel,
Position the ramekins in the pan,
Pour hot tap water or boiling water into the pan, halfway up to the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 40 minutes, until set.
Let cool, invert and serve.

Notes: The addition of orange zest and vanilla helped cut the 'eggy' flavour of usual flan's. Several reviewers had issues with the sugar caramel coating and mine was not an exception. Adding water and butter helped; perhaps better control over the amount would have helped. Did not note down how much water and butter was used, so the caramel part here would not be helpful!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mexican Flan with Tequila

Posted by Amber

Recently, I was looking at some blog pages and discovered this baking group Have the Cake. I was so excited to see if I could join and start baking and blogging with them. Rather than waiting until next month's challenge I decided to jump right in and bake April's Challenge Flan hosted by Jen of Pieces of Me .

I had my parents over for dinner and wanted to have a Mexican themed dinner and dessert. So I found a recipe for a Mexican Flan with Tequila aka Flan al Tequila. Overall, I think it was a good recipe but I am not sure I would make it again. I know there are different textures of flans but this particular one was not creamy enough for my liking. My husband though loved it enough to go back for seconds and said it tasted like waffles :) Coming from someone that does not try new things often I took this as a huge compliment! So I may have to make it again someday... See this posted with more step by step photos at LiveLoveToBake.

Mexican Flan with Tequila


Flan Custard

4 - Eggs
1 - Can (14oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1- Can (14oz.) Evaporated Milk
1 tsp - Vanilla Extract
2-4 Big Dashes - Tequila

Carmelized Sugar Topping

1 Cup - Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup - Water


1) Pre-heat oven to 350C.

2) Mix sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir once to combine and then heat while letting the sugar dissolve into the water. As heating the sugar mixture it should start a clear color and turn a light brown color. Swirl every now and then while heating to make sure that the color is distributed evenly. Once the light brown color has formed remove the saucepan from heat. Quickly pour the hot carmelized sugar into the bottom of a baking pan and swirl around until fully covered.

3) Mix together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and tequila. Pour this mixture into the baking pan coated with the carmelized sugar.

4) Place the flan baking pan into a hot water bath (I used a 9 x 13 glass pyrex dish with water filled to 1-2 inches high). Take the flan baking pan in the water bath and place these into the pre-heated oven. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a knife placed into the flan comes out clean.

5) Let flan cool and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

6) Invert flan onto a plate and admire your baking!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wow! Where have you been all my life, Almond Leche Flan?!?!

Posted by - Susan

When I first saw the challenge for April I had my doubts. Flan??? I have lived a very sheltered life (Hah!) and didn't know what "flan" was, what went in it, how to make it, nada. No clue. So, I read several of the recipes that Jen of pieces of me posted and thought "I can do this". And,  I did. :)

I chose the flan recipe Almond Leche Flan. (I'm too lazy to type the recipe up when I can just post a link to it...hope that's okay.) It was the word almond that grabbed me. I love almonds and use them whenever I can. I eat almonds almost every day in my yogurt. And, use them in biscotti, cookies, get the idea. So, Almond flan it was. Though I did consider the coconut version that Jen made, but figured I would try a different one.  I had everything I needed in the cupboard and fridge to put this together. I decided to make it last night, after dinner and after I had baked a batch of Chocolate Almond Biscotti (which were delicious I might add). I ended up staying up until about 2:00 this morning. Between baking and cooling, and making the caramel twice because it seized up the first time. :}

This was really easy to put together, other than the caramel making part, and I seem to have trouble making caramel right the first time. Last time I had to make caramel for something (I think it was a Double Crusted Caramel Apple Pie) I had to make it twice. Gotta' figure out what I do wrong the first time so I don't have to throw the first batch into the trash.

I mixed the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and almond extract very carefully, trying not to get any air into the mixture. I used a fine mesh sieve to pour the liquid into the prepared dish. The prepared dish was an 8" cake pan that I had poured the caramel into the bottom of and left on a burner set to low to keep warm until the flan mixture was ready to pour into it.

I also did the towel in the bottom of a roasting pan half filled with water method. I thought about skipping it, but was afraid it might not turn out and by now it was going on 11 at night and I didn't want to have invested all that time and have to redo everything the next day.

Baked the flan for the 50 minutes called for in the recipe and pulled it from the oven to cool. I unmolded it after a couple of hours and it looked perfect! I was so thrilled! I wanted to try it right then and there, but it recommends refrigerating it for 8 hours so I showed some self-control and went to bed. With my kitchen in shambles. From making dinner, then biscotti, and then the flan.  I don't often do that, leave my kitchen looking like this....

but, I was really tired by 2ish and just wanted to get to bed. Figured I would deal with the mess today. Which I did and now my kitchen looks like this...

much better. :)

Tried the flan for breakfast. Whhhaaaat?! There's eggs in it. And, eggs are a breakfast food. :)  It was unbelievable! I don't think I have ever tasted anything as silky smooth or as creamy before. The almond flavor flavor hits you first, and then the sweetness of the caramel slips into the mix and...oh my! I actually closed my eyes and moaned a little as I tasted the first bite. It is definitely a "savor in your mouth" kind of dessert. I don't know if the hubby will like it or not. It might be too creamy, too light for him. He is more a cake/cookie man. But, I will try and update later once he tries it. I kind of hope he doesn't like it. Then it will all be for me! Maw hahahaha! Oh, sorry. Got carried away. :}

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Flan Failure

Posted by - Ellebee

It's never a good sign when you tell your guests they don't have to eat the dessert if they don't like it and they actually take you up on that. But, after a bite of the flan I made yesterday, I completely understood. I was so looking forward to making this dessert, especially after reading all of the wonderful posts this month. Sadly, my flan tasted like runny scrambled eggs. (I'd like to add that this made my husband very happy as he loves eggs in any form. He was the only one of us to finish his portion. Many thanks to my neighbors for acting as guinea pigs!)

(Piper with, appropriately, an egg whisk.)

Looking back, there were several red flags. First, the recipe I used called for not only five whole eggs, but five additional egg yolks. Most of the recipes I've read on this site call for only three or four eggs - at most, five, with no additional yolks. I used a recipe from a creme brulee cookbook I've had success with. This recipe also called for milk and cream instead of condensed milk. Second, I forgot to add the vanilla, which might have masked the eggy flavor of this particular flan. Third, the flan never seemed to set up correctly. I baked it for the required 1 hour and 10 minutes, then left it in an additional 10 minutes because it still looked runny. The recipe said it would continue to set up after coming out of the oven, but I don't think that was the case. After some coaxing from my friend Dawn, I did manage to flip it out of the pan with no problem, but it looked kind of sad.

I might post a second take on this recipe this month. I really love flan and would love to get it right. We have some more guests coming up on Thursday, and they might just get Flan 2.0 for dessert!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Flan goodness

Posted by - colleen

So here is yet another dessert I have never even tasted let alone made. This one made me very nervous-it seemed very "particular." I found a super-basic recipe and (for once!) altered nothing.

I made the caramel first. I think I should have let it liquefy a little bit longer than I did but luckily it was hot enough to make it in the pie plate and cover the bottom before it hardened again.

I must admit, I am dreading getting this pan clean again. It will be soaking for quite a while before I even attempt it...

Next I threw all the liquid ingredients in a bowl and whipped everything together and then poured it all over the caramel in the pie dish, covered it in foil and put it in the oven for an hour.

After I took the flan out of the oven, I let it cool (took the dog for a walk) and then flipped it out on a plate-almost perfectly.

As with every new dessert I have tried here, this one is delicious. How have I not had this before? I will be bringing this to work to share with everyone so I don't eat the entire thing (like I did with the tiramisu last month).



  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Creamy Caramel Flan

Posted by - Jess

This is my first post and challenge for Have the Cake. I was very excited to try something completely new. New, for me, is an extremely easy thing to do because I, up until a few months ago, had an irrational dislike of cooking. I came across a cookbook which converted me to an enthusiastic baker of cakes (I have an obsession with all things cakes). Now, as my new found confidence grows, I am branching off into other dessert areas. I picked this recipe: for the flan. I wanted to try this one because I am a fan of cheesecake more than straight custards and this one seemed like a cross between the two. The part that freaked me out the most was the caramel making but I made it through without any problems.


3/4 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F

My oven is 25 degrees hotter than it says...that oven themometer has been lifesaver.
2. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook sugar, stirring, until golden. Pour into a 10 inch round baking dish, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside.

A tip given on the recipe site was to put the baking pan in the preheating oven to get warm for when you pour the sugar in. This turned out to be an excellent idea. Even with a well heated pan the sugar hardens very quickly! But I managed to get the caramel sugar nicely spread out in the pan.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Beat in condensed and evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour into caramel coated pan. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place baking dish on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
I opted to not use the dish towel in the wet bath and it didn't seem to effect how the flan baked.
4. Bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes, until center is just set. Cool one hour on wire rack, then chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. To unmold, run a knife around edges of pan and invert on a rimmed serving platter.
Baking time seemed to be right on target as I took it out of the oven after about 55 minutes.

All in all this has been a lot of fun to make and eat! I'll be sharing it with my coworkers so as to not totally undermine my diet!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coconut Cheesecake Flan

Easter Sunday, we had a fabulous dinner! And then I made this for dessert…

And I have to tell you, I burned my finger when I was making the caramel. This was the toughest part for me too, since I did not know how long it would take and how hot and hard it gets and how quickly you must pour it in the pans.

It takes a long time…

It is HOT!!

And it gets hard VERY FAST!

In that process, I made a mess and didn't get to take pictures I planned on taking because while trying to finish this up, I had to keep putting my finger in cold water.

Posted by - Jen @ Pieces of Me


I must also say, this was unbelievably delicious - I am so proud of myself, because it came out PERFECTLY!!

I seriously wanted to eat a whole pan and we could have, in one sitting, and I know this is seriously fattening but TOTALLY worth every single calorie!

I will be making this again, but next time, I won't touch the sugar after it has been caramelized. duh!

Be Careful! :)



* 2 cups sugar

* 1/4 cup water

* 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

* 3 large eggs, at room temperature

* 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

* 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

* 1 cup coconut milk, at room temperature

* ¼ shredded coconut

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Set a large bowl of ice water next to your stovetop. Place the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Using a pastry brush, stir the sugar occasionally, being careful not to get any grains stuck against the sides of the saucepan, until it has all dissolved. Swirl the saucepan every minute until the sugar becomes a golden reddish-brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Shock the bottom of the saucepan by placing the bottom in the ice water to stop the cooking, and then pour into baking dish, or two. ( I made two )

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer beat the softened cream cheese with the eggs on low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until completely incorporated. Add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup coconut and continue to beat together until everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. It will need to bake in a water-bath in the oven. Set the dish into a large baking pan with sides and carefully pour water around the flan to come 2/3 the way up the sides. Carefully transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for about 1 hour, until the flan is set and the center only jiggles a little bit, like a cheesecake would. Remove from the oven and water-bath and allow to cool completely. Turn the flan out onto a flat serving platter. Cut into slices for serving.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Flan and a big coincidence

I couldnt believe when I saw the post and it was Flan. I had just taken mine out of the oven . I did the brazilian version of it and my husband favorite.



4 eggs

2 cans of condensed milk

2 cans of whole milk


1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

Mix all the custard igredients on the blender and mix for around 5 minutes untill all incorporated.

In the meanwhile put the sugar and the water on the stove pan until it gets to a light brown color. Use the caramel to coat the bundt pan. And pour custard over it. Put the pan in the oven over 350 degrees. You can use the aluminum foil on top of the pan, this way it wont burn. Mine took 2 hours and 1/2 until I tough it was ready.

So So good!!!!!!!!

April's Challenge

Posted by - Jen@ Pieces of Me


I went back and forth a few times with my choice for this month's challenge. I wasn't sure if I wanted to choose Flan or Cheesecake or both and I went back and forth and stuck with Flan because I personally think it is more of a challenge, I know it will be for me, since I have only made it once, a very long time ago.

So I decided to make a Coconut Flan Cheesecake and you can choose any recipe you would like for your Flan. You will find many on the internet, I suggest looking at this post below :)

Happy Baking!

The Perfect Flan

By: Allrecipes Staff

Take a tip from Latin America and finish a spicy meal with cool, creamy flan.

Flan is a vanilla-infused custard with a sweet caramel top layer, but--like all custards--it easily embraces other flavors. Chocolate, coffee, orange, and coconut are all delectable variations.

Making the Caramel

Sugar can be cooked two ways: "wet" or "dry." Wet cooking is the easier method, because it gives you greater control over the degree of caramelization.

  • Sugar and water are brought to a boil; the water boils away and the sugar changes from pale gold to amber to brown.
  • You can stir the pan to help dissolve the sugar, but stop stirring once the mixture boils.

Dry cooking usually involves adding an acid, such as lemon juice, to keep the sugar from crystallizing.

  • Toss the lemon juice with the sugar until it's the consistency of wet sand.
  • Heat the sugar until it melts. Don't stir, which promotes crystallization--the caramel will seize up and be grainy, not clear--but you may swirl the pan slightly to help redistribute any sugar that's starting to brown.

For either method, as soon as the caramel reaches a deep golden brown, remove it from the heat and pour it into the dish or dishes in which you will be baking the flan. (It will continue to cook once you pull it off the heat, so don't let it get too dark or the caramel will taste bitter and burnt.) Be very careful to avoid burns.

Making the Custard

Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk while others use cream or whole milk. A flan made with sweetened condensed milk will be slightly denser than one made with milk or cream. Likewise, flan made with milk rather than cream will be slightly lighter than a cream-based custard. Experiment with different ingredients and recipes to find the one that suits your tastes.

  • Place the milk, solid flavoring--vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, citrus zest--and sugar into a large saucepan. (Liqueurs and extracts are added after the mixture cooks).
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • While the milk mixture heats, whisk the eggs until pale yellow. Don't over-mix the eggs: you don't want the eggs to become foamy, because the air bubbles affect the texture of the finished product.
  • In a slow stream, pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl of eggs, whisking constantly.
  • Pour the custard base through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl to ensure a silky smooth texture in your flan.
  • Stir in extract or other flavorings.
  • Divide the custard equally between your caramel-coated dish or ramekins.

Baking the flan

Baking custards in a water bath is crucial, due to their delicate nature. The water insulates the custard and keeps it from cooking too fast, which causes cracks in the finished flan and a rubbery texture. Lay a dishtowel on the bottom of a roasting pan, place the flan dish or dishes on top of the towel, and then fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

Out of the oven

The flan is ready to be removed from the oven when it has begun to set. Gently shake the pan: the centers of the custard should jiggle slightly. You can also insert the tip of a knife into the custard near the center; if the flan is still liquid, it needs more time in the oven. When the flan has begun to set, remove the roasting pan from the oven, being very careful not to spill the hot water. Let the flan cool while sitting in the water bath, until the ramekins are cool enough to handle. Refrigerate before serving.

Serving the dessert

The caramel, which set up hard in the bottom of the dish, will have softened due to the moisture in the custard. You should be able to slip each custard out of its cup with ease: run a butter knife or the tip of a paring knife around the edge of the ramekin to release the flan. Invert a small dessert plate over the ramekin, turn it over, and gently remove the dish. You should have a creamy, picture-perfect flan crowned with a syrupy golden caramel.


Flan is a perfect canvas for a dessert-lover who enjoys experimenting with flavors!

  • Vanilla flan can be made marvelous by using a vanilla bean in place of the extract.
    • Slice the bean in half, scraping out the seeds with the tip of the paring knife.
    • Add the vanilla bean and seeds into the warming milk and let it infuse; remove it before whisking the hot milk into the eggs
  • Mixing approximately 1/4 cup of ground coffee into the warming milk mixture makes coffee-flavored flan--but be sure to strain the coffee grounds out of the flan before baking.
  • To make chocolate flan, use the same method as you would for chocolate ganache: pour about a third to half a cup of chocolate chips in a mixing bowl.
    • Pour the boiling milk mixture (you may wish to reduce the sugar in your recipe) over the chocolate.
    • Cover, and let soften for about five minutes.
    • Whisk until smooth. Whisk chocolate mixture into eggs, and continue as above.