Now I never claimed to be good at baking…in fact, the oven terrifies me. The thought of putting a bunch of ingredients in the strange rectangular box, leaving it alone for an hour, and then magically something edible appears is not a concept I am quick to get on board with. I much prefer watching my food cook on the stove top. I can taste it as I go and add a little extra of this, or sprinkle on a little extra of that. I realize, however, that with the responsibility of co-owning a food blog, I need to learn to step outside my comfort box (or comfort stove, dare I say) and take a stab at something new. So in the interest of trying new things I attempted to make not just “flan”, but pumpkin flan.
I realize that flan tends to have a somewhat negative connotation…and not unreasonably so. Fact is it’s a strange gelatinous substance that often tastes strongly of eggs. It’s not quite a pudding and it’s definitely not a cake. It’s…flan. If done correctly, I think it can be quite tasty, but there are lots of opportunities to mess up the recipe…In fact, I experienced quite a few of them while trying to create this dish. Despite all of these opportunities for failure, I think this recipe will satisfy most “flan haters”, and with the addition of pumpkin, is rather fitting for the month of halloween. If you’re still looking for a reason to make this dish,there is also the promise a flan-high.
What you need:
- 1 and 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 cups of half and half (or 3 cups of cream)
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- a 9X9 baking dish and a larger baking dish that the first one can sit inside of
What you need to do:
- Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a sauce pan on the stove (yay! stove action!). Allow the sugar to caramelize to a brownish color. I am told this should take about 10 minutes (side note: my sugar never did reach a brownish color…not sure why).
- Pour the caramelized sugar in the bottom of the 9X9 in baking dish (do this quickly as it doesn’t take long for the sugar to harden).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add the remaining sugar (3/4 cup), eggs, egg yolks, and pinch of salt to a bowl and whisk with an electric beater until the mixture is homogenous and pretty thick. Fold in the pumpkin puree until everything is evenly mixed.
- In a sauce pan, heat the half and half, nutmeg and cinnamon for about 3-4 minutes (until the mixture just barely starts to steam).
- Add the milk/cream/spices mixture to the eggs/sugar/pumpkin little by little. Be sure to continuously whisk the mixture as you combine the two.
- Add the contents of the bowl to the 9X9 in baking dish.
- Place the baking dish in the larger baking dish and fill the larger baking dish with boiling water until it is about 1 in. from the top of the smaller baking dish (for an example of what this looks like, see this image.
- Place the 2 baking dishes in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It’s important to note that the higher the cream content in your recipe, the faster the dish will set. In the future, I plan to use all cream instead of half and half so I don’t have to cook it as long.
- After an hour and 15 minutes, remove the dishes and let cool for about 30 minutes.
- After it has cooled, flip the contents onto a serving dish. The caramelized sugar will serve as a sugar glaze. Supposedly if you do this right, there should be a hard sugar layer one top…but I didn’t manage to pull that off.