Chinese Flan

We were driving up a one lane road in search of our friends’ house. It was the first time we’d ventured up there and little did we know that this family literally lives on top of a very steep hill. Unfortunately, the dizzying feeling of carsickness soon came along. That’s when I started staring at the road’s median strip and maneuvering a pretend steering wheel.

As my sisters and I attempted to combat our minor carsickness, this flan sloshed around in the trunk. It seems to me that flans are rather picky about the conditions. They are rather delicate custards, and let’s just say that they don’t fancy hairpin turns.

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Even though the flan experienced a bit of trauma during transportation, fellow foodies (family, friends, neighbors down the street) will give you a thumbs up after a single bite.

With that in mind, try out this Chinese flan. Unlike its Spanish cousin, this dessert will leave you comfortably satisfied after a meal, not stuffed like you’ve swallowed a whole cheesecake single-handedly. Plus, this flan has a pleasant sweet/creamy balance that won’t leave you with a sugar coated tongue. Check your pantry now; you might already have all the ingredients.



Chinese Flan (Egg Custard)

This recipe hails from my grandmother’s recipe collection which she houses in a weathered wooden box. She says she clipped the recipe from one of the Chinese world newspapers. Although we think of flan as normally paired with Spanish food, my grandma manages to serve this custard as the finale to a meal of any cuisine. To produce a caramelized flan, melt your sugar in a regular saucepan (not non-stick). Make sure the sugar is brown but not burnt because presentation counts when you turn out the dessert and witness the tantalizing melted sugar topping. 

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 (15-oz) can condensed milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt (just a dash)

2 /2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small saucepan (without a non-stick coating) over medium low heat, melt 1/2 cup sugar until it reaches a rich golden brown color. Pour into a 9″ round pan and spread sugar evenly.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, water and vanilla extract. Pour mixture into the pan.

Place in preheated oven. On a lower rack, fill a boiler pan 1″ full with hot water and place on the rack below the flan. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a kinfe comes out clean.

Cool for 3 hours. Carefully invert on a rimmed platter (in order to catch the syrup). Serve at room temperature or chilled.



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