(Total cooking time: about 15 minutes)
over-ripe bananas (skins should be quite black)
with fork on a plate or in blender.
Flan is not difficult to make. There are only two slightly tricky elements you will need to master. The first is caramelizing the sugar, and the second is rigging up the hot water bath.
Caramel - 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sugar
Buy a deep 8-inch aluminum cake pan and use it only to make flan. Since it doesn't get used for anything else, it stays nice and shiny.
Make a hot water bath for the flan by setting your 8-inch cake pan in a larger pan. You can use a larger pan but make it at least 2 inches bigger than the flan pan. You can use a broiler pan. It must be deep.
While holding the cake pan down, pour water into the larger pan until the water level comes to within a half inch of the top of the cake pan. Then remove the cake pan and put the larger, water-filled pan into your preheating 350°F oven while you mix the flan. Be sure the pan is at the horizontal and vertical center of your oven. While you're at it, remove any oven rack that may be above the center rack. This next step is a real time-saver.
Caramelize your sugar directly in the flan pan. Put the 1/3 cup sugar into the pan. Using a good oven mitt or tongs you can really grip with, hold the pan just over or just on a burner at medium heat. Shake and tilt the pan, rather than stirring the sugar. Watch it carefully. The sugar will begin to melt (keep shaking it around), and then begin to caramelize (darken in color). Don't let it burn, but you do want it to be a nice, deep (caramel) color. When all sugar is caramelized, tilt the pan until the entire bottom surface is coated. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool. The caramelized sugar will harden almost immediately, and may even crack. That's okay.
Now, blend all ingredients together and pour the mixture into the caramel-lined pan. Open your oven door and carefully pull out the oven rack with the water-filled pan on it. Be careful not to slosh. While gripping the top rim of the cake pan with both hands, carefully lower it into the hot water bath. You might use the oven mitts with a plastic sandwich bag over each. (Another way to do this is to pour the mixture into the caramel-lined pan after you have placed It in the hot water bath.)
Bake for about 50 minutes. Test for doneness like you would a cake. Insert a wet butter knife in the middle. If it comes out clean then it's done. Remove from hot water and chill at once. As the flan cools, the caramel dissolves. When flan is chilled, loosen the edge by carefully running a knife around the inside of the pan. Cover pan with a rimmed serving plate, and quickly invert. The flan will slowly slip free, and the caramel sauce will flow. To serve, cut in wedges and spoon on caramel sauce.
Copyright © 2011 by Marisa Montes. All rights reserved.