July Fourth Flan Serves 8-10
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Close your eyes as you take the first spoonful and you’ll think you’re sitting at an outdoor café on the Costa del Sol with a glass of sherry nearby. You’ll be brought back to the USA by the red (raspberries), white (creamy flan under the caramel), and (blue) blueberries. More subtle than crème Brule, flan is a luscious summer dessert. It is a wonderfully rich dessert and easy to prepare. You’ll need to use the oven so plan to make the flan early in the day or the day before.
one-fourth cup water
1 cup sugar
4 cups heavy cream
one-half cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon rind
pinch of salt
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
Spray or lightly butter a 9 inch round glass or ceramic baking dish, or use 10 individual ceramic ramekins (4 ounces each).
Carmelize sugar. Stir water and sugar in a saucepan, cover and cook over a medium high heat for about one minute or until the sugar dissolves.
Uncover and stir constantly until the sugar syrup turns golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, could take up to 5 minutes. Immediately pour the syrup into the buttered pan and swirl to distribute the liquid sugar evenly. Flan is not a dessert to prepare on a hot humid day, the sugar just doesn’t want to set-up (…the voice of experience).
Mix the eggs with a fork just to blend the whites and yolks, then mix in the sugar. You don’t want froth or bubbles. Add cream, vanilla, lemon rind, salt, and mix just to blend ingredients. Pour into prepared pan or cups. Place the flan on the middle oven rack in a pan of hot water, bain-marie about one-fourth inch deep. Bake 45 minutes or just until set. Insert a knife into the middle of the custard, when it comes out clean, the flan is done. Remove from oven and hot water bath, and cool on a wire rack.
Refrigerate flan when it cools to room temperature, remove about a half-hour before serving.
To serve: Invert onto a large platter and serve with berries heaped around the sides.
Variations: Substitute orange rind for lemon and gently toss berries with one-fourth cup Cointreau about 15 minutes before serving. Or, substitute one-half teaspoon almond extract for vanilla and toss berries with one-fourth cup Amaretto.