I will be honest with you…I didn’t make these flans. I wanted to, but paying $2.50 for both flans is definitely cheaper than buying all the specialty flan cook ware and ramekins–not mentioning the time I would spend pottering in my kitchen preparing flan and making sure they come out right. I have no doubt that making flans is a fulfilling experience–a skill I would love to acquire eventually–but with my busy schedules lately, I simply can’t afford to attempt them at home.
I first tasted flans in the late 1990’s–I had just graduated from college and started working in the US. (I had never seen or tasted flans when I was in Malaysia.) My then co-worker invited me for dinner and his wife made flans for dessert. I remember vividly the first taste; it was a dessert so delicate, beautiful, and sublime–egg custard served in a bath of amber-hued caramel–it was smooth and melted in my mouth. It was the taste of heaven…(get flan recipe after the jump)
Since then, I have had many flans in a lot of interesting places–in Texas on my road trip down to Florida; in a traditional Mexican restaurant on a side street in Cabo San Lucas; at a food store in Calistoga; most recently, in Cannes where the flan was rather different in taste, shape, and form; and countless more. None of them beats the flans prepared by my ex co-worker’s wife.
This weekend, when I was shopping in Little Saigon here in Orange County, I chanced upon these flans at Lee’s Sandwiches. I was overjoyed.
They turned out to be very good flans; almost as good as the first ones I had in my friend’s house. I got the flan recipe and have kept it with me for years. I will make these flans one day, but for now, please find the secret recipe that introduces me to the world of flans.
(Flans are also known as crème caramel or caramel custard.)
Looking for an entree to pair with flans? Try these recipes on Rasa Malaysia:
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk (whole milk preferred)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
In a small sauce pan, prepare the caramel by blending the sugar and water in medium heat. Keep stirring it until it thickens and the syrup turns deep amber in color. Turn off heat.
Arrange 6 ramekins and add the caramel (in equal portion) into the ramekins. (Save some caramel for topping purposes.) Tilt the ramekins and make sure that the caramel is coated evenly at the bottom of the ramekins.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Clean the sauce pan and heat it up (use low heat). Add in the milk and 1/2 cup of sugar. As soon as the sugar dissolves, turn off the heat. In a big bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, and add in the warm milk slowly. Add the vanilla extract and do a quick whisk. Strain the custard mixture into the 6 ramekins and set aside.
Arrange the 6 ramekins in a baking pan big enough to fit them. Pour hot water in the baking pan about halfway up the ramekins. Transfer the baking pan into the oven and bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the ramekins from the baking pan and let cool. Once they turn cool, transfer them to the fridge and chill them for a few hours. When they are ready to serve, slide a knife around the side of each ramekin to loosen the flan. Turn it out on a dessert plate and top it with extra caramel, if you want.
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