Flan de Nata

Spanish Rich Crème Caramel

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    6

Appears in

MoVida

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

This is the most popular of all Spanish desserts. Its similarities to French crème caramel are obvious — a rich baked milk and cream custard sitting on top of a layer of bittersweet caramel. But the French connection has never stopped the Spanish from making this classic dessert.

Almost every little local restaurant I have stepped into in Spain has had this on the menu — almost like Australia in the late 1980s when sticky date pudding appeared on our menus. And probably for the same reason, because they are both so bloody good!

This recipe in front of you is the king of flan recipes. It actually makes seven servings, but one is a test flan. Serve with pestiños.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) milk
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) pouring (whipping) cream
  • 2 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 9 egg yolks, at room temperature

Method

Caramelize 300 g (10½ oz) of the sugar in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat for 5 minutes, swirling occasionally until it starts to pool with golden liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 1–2 minutes, without stirring, until golden. Be careful not to burn the sugar.

Quickly spoon 2 tablespoons of caramel into the bottom of seven 200 ml (7 fl oz) ramekins or dariole moulds (remember — one is a test flan). Place the moulds in a roasting tin.

Pour the milk and cream into a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Just before the milk boils, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3).

Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a metal bowl and whisk very lightly until combined.

Gradually pour 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of the milk and cream mixture onto the egg and sugar while you gently whisk (this ensures that you don’t aerate the mixture too much). Slowly add the remainder of the milk and cream and mix together. Once combined, pour the mixture back into a clean, heavy-based saucepan and place over low–medium heat.

Stir the mixture for 10–12 minutes with a wooden spoon until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Using a ladle, pour the mixture immediately into the prepared ramekins, filling to the top.

Pour enough hot water into the roasting tin to fill up to 1 cm (½ inch) from the top of the ramekins. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Test only one of the custards to see if done by inserting a knife in the centre to the bottom. Pull to one side and if the caramel rises, it is done. Allow to set overnight in the refrigerator.

To serve, run a knife around the edge and carefully invert each ramekin onto six individual serving plates.