Thursday, January 7, 2010
Lost in Pronunciation and Dulce de Leche Flan
Dulce de leche flan is one of the most decadent desserts I have ever eaten. It has a silky, rich, creamy, melt in your mouth texture..... Yes, talk about singing paeans of praise! But then once you've eaten a dulce de leche flan, you will agree that it is deserving of all those adjectives that I have written.
No, it is not really a caramel custard, though it quite looks like one; the complex toffee and caramel flavour of this flan will drive you to...well, raptures of delight!
Undoubtedly, this is one of my favourite desserts - pity I got to know of this dessert a mere 3 years ago!
Rewind to 2006, I was in the kitchen making kulfi while my helper looked over very intently.
What are you making with the condensed milk, she asked.
Kulfi, I told her and proceeded to explain what kulfi was all about.
Even I know a very delicious dessert with condensed milk, she told me. Lichee flan, it is called she said.
Now, I just love litchis (litchi/ lychee depending on where you are and how you pronounce it) so a litchi flan did sound nice.
Then one day when we were in the supermarket, my eye fell on some really luscious litchis and thought of asking her to make the flan. Pick up what you need to make your litchi flan, I told her.
So she went around and came back with condensed milk, evaporated milk and eggs. No litchis though.
How on earth are you going to make litchi flan without picking up any litchis, I demanded.
She looked at me as if I were talking gibberish. But litchi flan does not need any litchis, she explained patiently.
Duh? Just what exactly are you making, I asked her again.
Litchi flan. It is like the ummm.....caramel pudding you make.
Huh? I was completely baffled. Litchi flan without litchis? What exactly are you making, I asked her exasperatedly. Can you spell it for me please?
And so, she typed on her phone : Leche flan.
Litchi flan, she said.
Ah ha! Laychay flan, I muttered.
I never got around to noting down her recipe. And so when I made Dulce de Leche flan, I surfed the net and landed on somes recipe that I liked; I have mixed n matched several to finally come up with this one.
for the custard
Dulce de Leche - 1 tin (here'e how you make the dulce de leche)
Milk - 500 ml
2 egg yolks
zest of half a lemon - don't skip this, it adds a lovely flavour to the flan
1 small vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract (this time, I used vanilla extract as I didn't have the pod; I do prefer using the vanilla pod)
for the caramel:
125 gms sugar
75 ml water
First, make the caramel: add the water and the sugar together in a pan and allow the sugar to melt whilst gently stirring. Then let it caramelise; turn off the gas when it reaches a deep amber colour.
Pour the caramel into a flan pan and swirl it around to coat the base and the sides of the pan. (I used a 9" cake pan).
Split the vanilla pod length-wise and scrape the seeds. Scald the milk in a saucepan and add the vanilla seeds and pod* to the milk. Slowly add the dulce de leche to the milk, stirring constantly till the dulce de leche is dissolved. Once the dulce de leche is dissolved, turn off the gas and allow the mixture to cool a bit. You will need to stir it a bit to avoid the skin from forming on top of the milk mixture.
Lightly beat together all the eggs and the lemon rind* and add it to the cooled milk - dulce de leche mixture. Mix well.
(* if you are using vanilla extract, then whisk it with the eggs instead of adding it to the milk).
Discard the pod and pour the custard into the prepared flan pan. If there are too many bubbles in your mixture, then scoop these off with a spoon.
Pre-heat the oven at 160 deg C for 10 mins. You will need to bake the flan in a water bath, so while you are pre heating the oven, set some water to boil.
Place your flan pan in a larger baking tray and pour the just boiled water into the larger baking tray; the water should come 2/3 up the side of the flan pan.
Bake for about 40 mins at 160 deg C or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Else, keep baking in 5 min increments.
Cool your flan in a water bath till it comes to room temperature, then chill it for at least 3 hours. To serve, loosen the edges of the flan with a knife and then invert it on your serving dish. Pour all the caramel over the flan.
You could serve it right away, but I prefer to chill my flan overnight; it really allows all the flavours to infuse well.
Oh, and make sure you pronounce it as dulsay the laychay flan to avoid any confusion!
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!