Author James Mitchell in his book Iberia describes a man in Madrid called “El Grand Flanero”, the Great Flan Maker. Every morning, he would make massive amounts of “good luck” flan that businessmen or bullfighters would eat before make any important decisions.
Flans have become synonymous with Spanish and Latino cuisines. They didn’t start that way, though. Back to the Roman Empire, chickens were domesticated for their eggs and recipes for savory custards called “flado” were born. When the Moors took their turn at dominating Spain in the 8th century, they brought with them sugar which was added to cream and eggs yolks. Flan was born and by 1515, it was introduced along to the New World by Cortes.
Flan- egg and cream custard with a hard caramel top, is now eaten everywhere in the world. This recipe is for the classic version from Madrid.
Flan del Gran Flanero
- Wire whisk
- 3 Eggs
- 3 Egg yolk
- ¼ tsp Grated lemon rind
- 16 tbsp Sugar
- 2½ cups Whole milk
- 5 tsp Water
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Make the Caramel – Heat ⅓ of the sugar and water in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until becomes golden brown. Remove from heat and pour equally into 6 greased ramekins or 1 greased round casserole dish.
- Make Custard – Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). With a whisk, beat together all the eggs and yolks. Stir in lemon rind, another ⅓ of sugar, vanilla, and milk. Pour into ramekins and place in a small roasting pan filled with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cook Custard – Cook on the stove over medium heat for 1 hour. Transfer to oven and cook for another 25 minutes. Insert a knife into the custard and if it comes out clean, your good to go. The middle of the custard should be a little jiggly, it will set further as it chills. Remove from water, let cool, and chill in refrigerator.
- To Serve – Remove ramekins from refrigerator and rub a knife around the insides to loosen. Invert onto a dessert plate. If caramelized bottoms won't loosen to become caramelized tops, run bottom of ramekin briefly under hot water to separate. Serve alone or topped with fresh berries or whipped cream.