Chef David Guas serves this smooth, delectable flan at the end of a traditional Cuban meal, even though the recipe isn't traditionally Cuban. In his father's homeland, rustic methods often leave the custard studded with bits of cooked egg, but the chef prefers a more unctuous approach.
Almonds are often used as a flan garnish, and this version hints at that with almond extract in the custard, giving the finished flan a sweet aroma.
Make Ahead: The custard can be made two days before baking. After baking, the flans must be refrigerated overnight before serving.
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 large eggs, plus 6 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat the water, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the corn syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 7 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel into eight 6-ounce glass or ceramic ramekins, using just enough to coat the bottom. If the caramel becomes too hard to pour, rewarm it over the stove.
Heat the milk, cream and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble gently, about 10 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
While the milk mixture is heating, combine the eggs and yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
Turn off the heat under the milk mixture and slowly add some of that mixture to the egg mixture to warm it, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from coagulating. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer and discard any solids in the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and the salt. Divide the mixture among the ramekins.
(At this point, the ramekins can be chilled in an ice water bath until cool to the touch, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Arrange the ramekins in a large baking pan at least 4 inches deep and transfer the pan to the oven. Pour enough hot tap water into the pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil, and use a knife to poke several small holes in the foil. Bake the flans for about 30 minutes, then lift a corner of the foil to allow steam to escape. Re-cover the pan and bake until the flans are set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the flans to a rack and let them cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold the flans, run a small knife around the sides of the ramekins and invert the flans onto dessert plates.
From David Guas, chef-owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington.
Tested by Jim Webster.
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