There is one dessert that I can almost never pass by.
Actually, now that I write that out, there are a few I can’t pass by. Peanut butter pie. Flan or crème caramel. Cheesecake. If all three on on a dessert menu, I am really stuck.
I joined a group called The Secret Recipe Club after my friend Mary Tweeted something about it. The idea is that you are assigned a food blog every month and you make a recipe from it.
We really like to try new recipes and new foods, so I signed up.
This month, I was assigned Eliot’s Eats, a site that focuses on eating whole foods that were grown or raised locally. After looking through a few pages of recipes, the one that spoke to me most was for custard.
The author explains that her grandmother used to give everyone custard when they were sick. I don’t totally understand that tradition, as my mother always withheld milk and eggs when we were sick, but that’s irrelevant.
I love custard, so I knew this is the recipe we’d try. I’d never attempted to make custard before, and I was excited.
I followed a link in the post and learned how to turn plain old custard into flan by boiling a cup of sugar and putting it into the dishes before the custard. Perfect!
Also, Eliot’s recipe calls for scalded milk. I had absolutely no idea what scalded milk was or how to prepare it. I searched for it on Swagbucks, and I learned that you heat the milk up to 180°F, just until it begins to get a frothy layer of bubbles around the edge.
The more I read about scalding milk, however, the more sources said that you only need to do it if you’re using unpasteurized milk. I don’t use unpasteurized milk, so I skipped the scalding step. My flan came out very nicely nonetheless.
- 1 cup granulated sugar (per this recipe; if you want to make plain flan per Eliot's original recipe, skip the sugar)
- ¼ cup water
- 4 cups scalded milk, cooled slightly - as I explained above, I just used pasteurized 2% milk
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- nutmeg (for sprinkling on top)
- 4 ramekins (or other small dishes that can be baked)
- Boil a pot or tea kettle of water. You'll need it below.
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Keep boiling until it turns into a nicely browned caramel sauce.
- Divide the caramel sauce between 4 ramekins.
- Swirl the caramel around so that it coats the bottom and halfway up the sides of the dishes.
- Slowly beat milk and eggs together.
- Add vanilla, sugar, and salt.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Sprinkle nutmeg on top of the caramel, then carefully pour the custard mixture into the ramekins.
- Fill a baking dish about ⅓ full with the hot water you boiled earlier.
- Set the custard cups into the dish of hot water. (The water should go about halfway up the sides of the custard cups.)
- Bake at 350°F until a thin knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean, normally 40 minutes to one hour.
- Refrigerate custards until ready to serve.
- To serve, turn custard upside down onto a dish and remove ramekin. The caramel should make a thin layer on top, with caramel pouring down the sides of the custard. Serve chilled.
© 2011 – 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.