Friday, March 30, 2012

Caramel Custard

Caramel Custard or Flan
This is the easiest method I know for making caramel custard, also known as flan in Spanish or crème brûlèe in French. The texture of this pudding is firm and smooth and it tastes heavenly! 

The ramekins filled with custard should be placed in a bain marie (ban-mah-REE). This is a fancy term for a hot water bath used in cooking delicate foods like custards, cheesecakes or terrines. The hot water creates a gentle and uniform heat around the ramekins. Find a baking dish with high sides that will hold the six ramekins. A roasting pan or casserole dish works well. First pre-heat the oven, heat 1½ cups of water, pull out one of the oven racks and place the pan on the rack. Pour hot water into the pan, carefully arrange the ramekins in the pan, making sure the water comes only half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Gently push the oven rack back in place, shut the oven door and the puddings are now ready to be baked.

After baking, remove the ramekins from the bain marie and wipe off the water from the bottom and sides of the ramekins. It is best to chill this pudding in the refrigerator overnight but if there's not enough time, allow to chill for at least 3 hours.  

Ingredients
Caramel:
   ½ cup sugar
   ½ cup water
Custard:
   4 eggs
   1 (14 oz.) can Carnation Evaporated Milk
   1 (10 oz.) can Eagle Condensed Milk
   1 (8 oz.) cup fat-free ½ & ½ or milk
   1 tsp. Vanilla extract
   Raisins (optional)

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. in a small saucepan, simmer sugar & water until caramelized.
  3. Divide caramel between 6 ramekins and set aside to cool.
  4. Beat eggs and combine with remaining custard ingredients.
  5. Stir thoroughly until mixture is smooth & pour into six prepared ramekins.
  6. Prepare roasting pan as outlined above and place ramekins in it.
  7. Bake at  300°F for an hour until set and center jiggles slightly.
  8. Refrigerate overnight and invert onto dessert plates to serve.
Notes: To darken color of caramel, add 1 tsp. instant coffee to caramel ingredients before simmering.


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