A flan is a popular dessert in the Spanish-speaking world, in France it is known as crème caramel.
This dish is always prepared with eggs and gently cooked in a bain-marie. The basic version of a flan has a very silky texture. We love today’s recipe because the addition of almonds gives the custard more texture.
You will need soufflé dishes about 7.5 cm in diameter and 4 cm high, which also work well for other preparations. Alternatively, the flan can be prepared in a larger mould and then cut into pieces. You would then use a mould for quiches or cakes with a diameter of up to 30 cm, for example, but such a size would make 8 portions rather than the 6 given here.
You also need an ovenproof mould in which you can place the dishes in a water bath. This can also be a deep baking tray.
The ingredients you need are icing sugar, crème fraîche, blanched (peeled) almonds, eggs and the grated zest and juice of an orange. As always with citrus fruits, only the coloured part of the peel is grated, not the bitter white part. And as always, buy organic products and wash the peel thoroughly and with hot water beforehand.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius top/bottom heat. We also like to warm our soufflé dishes a little in the oven, which makes it easier to work with the caramel later.
Then mix a small amount of the icing sugar with very little water in a small pan and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat (for us: 6 out of 10). Caramel is easier to make this way than dry, i.e. with just sugar.
Do not use any cooking utensils, as the sugar would crystallise and stick to them. Instead, just swirl the pan gently and carefully until the sugar starts to colour after about 5 – 7 minutes. It is best not to leave the cooker during this time. And be very careful, because caramel is extremely hot.
The sugar then quickly darkens in colour. Within a total of around 10 minutes, bronze-coloured caramel has formed, which has an intense and slightly bitter scent.
Now you need to work fast, because caramel sets rapidly. Pour the caramel into the dishes quickly and swirl them in a circle to spread the caramel over the base. This is a little easier in preheated bowls because the caramel sets more slowly. A second pair of hands can be helpful.
Now blend the remaining ingredients in a mixer for a good minute to form a homogeneous liquid. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand blender in a tall container. If you don’t have this either, you will need to shop ground almonds and work with a whisk for a few minutes.
The mixture is filled into the dishes…
…which are then sealed with a little aluminium foil and placed in the mould or on a deep tray. Then pour enough cold water into the mould so that the dishes are standing in it to a height of about 1.5 cm.
The flan is baked in the water bath for 50 – 60 minutes. It is ready when (almost) no mixture sticks to a knife inserted into it.
Then remove the still covered dishes from that water bath and leave them to cool gently at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing them in the fridge for at least an hour to allow them to set completely.
To serve, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins, taking care to also loosen the caramel at the bottom from the edge, then you can turn the flan out onto a plate.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 6 portions):
75 g icing sugar for the caramel
175 g icing sugar for the flan
225 g crème fraîche (alternatively: double cream)
100 g blanched / peeled almonds
4 egg yolks
Zest and juice of one orange