This recipe creates creamy, perfect flans, with what I consider almost a perfect macronutrient ratio. I have backyard chickens, thus I'm always trying to find creative ways to use their delicious eggs. A blue cheese flan, accompanied with an imaginative citrusy salad, makes a perfect summer meal. A mocha flan is a dessert fit for royalty. The variations are endless, from sweet to savory and everything in between.
Basic recipe with variations and nutritional information following
Basic Flan, 3 servings (can easily be doubled)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
On stovetop, heat a saucepan of water to boiling point. This water will be used as a water bath when the flan is baking. I use a large cast iron frying pan, which is just large enough to hold the three ceramic dishes. First, to determine how much water to heat, I put the ceramic dishes in the cast iron frying pan and then add water until it comes just to the middle of the dishes. I then remove the dishes and heat the water on the stovetop. Alternatively, you can use a muffin tin, but you'll need to alter the baking time accordingly and find a large enough baking pan that can contain the muffin tin.
Whisk in mixing bowl, just until mixed:
4 whole eggs
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
(optional) 2 packets splenda
In a small saucepan, heat just to simmering point (don't allow to boil):
2 T butter
4 T water
1 cup heavy cream
Pour the heated cream mixture slowly into the egg mixture, whisking as you go. If you pour it too quickly, the eggs will curdle. Slowly, and the eggs just heat up mildly.
Grease 3 ceramic flan dishes with butter.
Pour the egg/cream mixture from the mixing bowl back into your saucepan (in which you heated the cream, or a clean bowl) through a fine-mesh sieve. This ensures that your flan will be very creamy.
Evenly divide the egg/cream mixture between the 3 dishes.
Place the dishes into a baking pan (or use the cast iron frying pan that you heated the water in). Pour the hot water around the dishes until the water reaches half way up the sides of the dishes.
Place the pan containing the water and the ceramic dishes filled with the flan mixture in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. You want the flans to be just a little wobbly in the center when you take them out. It might take 25 minutes. You do not want the flans to be browned at all, just slightly firm.
Take the pan out of the oven and allow the flans to cool in the water bath. You can eat the flan slightly warm (my favorite) or allow to cool thoroughly in the fridge. Optionally, you can top with berries.
Variations (limited only by your imagination)
Mocha: Substitute liquid espresso for the water, add finely shaved grated dark chocolate to the egg mixture
Pumpkin: Add 1/2 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin
Cream cheese: Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup cream cheese to the egg mixture (helps if it's slightly warm, nuke 30 seconds before adding)
Onion/red pepper: Eliminate the vanilla and sweetener if using, add 1/2 cup sauteed onions and red pepper
Blue Cheese: Eliminate the vanilla and sweetener, add cream cheese and blue cheese
Jalapeno: Add chopped, sauteed jalapenos to the cream cheese variation
Nutritional Information for Basic Recipe (serves 3, this is for one serving)
Fat: 42.9 grams (89%)
Carbs: 2.7 grams (2%)
Protein: 9.1 grams (Protein)