Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mexican Chocolate Flan

Caramel is a sweet treat that makes me swoon. Seriously. All I have to see is a photo of caramel drizzled over pie, cake or ice cream and I find myself fantasizing about that buttery, creamy confection.  I'll take caramel over chocolate any day. Guaranteed.

When you pair a creamy bite of custardy "flan" with a caramel sauce-- I'm smitten. No matter how full I think I am, I can always find room for flan.  It's a surprisingly light dessert, and I think it's make a beautiful presentation.  It's really not difficult to make. 

"Cinco de Mayo" is less than a month away, and this would be a great dessert for a Mexican theme.   I buy the Ibarra brand of Mexican chocolate, which is laced with cinnamon and coarse sugar. It's really easy to find, at most grocery stores.  I thought that I'd add this chocolate to a traditional vanilla-based flan recipe-- and a little added Kahlua would make this flan taste a little extra special.

I feared making caramel for a very long time. I was afraid of burning the sugar.  I finally overcame that fear when  I made a Grand Marnier Caramel Sauce for a Panna Cota  (similar to a flan, but no eggs). To make a caramel flan sauce, you need a pan, sugar and water.  The key to success is to pay attention, don't stir the sugar and water (rather, swirl it) and watch for that amber color to happen.  I show another tutorial for a Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream recipe (one of my all time faves) here.

Once the sugar water has caramelized, pour it into ramekins (or oven-proof dishes).

Mexican chocolate looks like an interesting layer of chocolate and sugar. (Melt some in hot milk with vanilla, and you have a delicious hot beverage.)

Chopped Mexican chocolate is added to milk, and a couple sticks of cinnamon. It's heated until everything is melted. Everything is steeped for about 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, five eggs are whisked and then Kahlua, a little almond extract and vanilla is added.

A little bit of the hot milk mixture is whisked into the eggs (so we don't get scrambled eggs) to "temper" it.  Then, the last of the hot milk is combined and then poured through a sieve into a spouted bowl/pitcher.

I've lined a roasting pan with a clean dish towel, so that the ramekins won't slide around.  The custard filling is evenly poured into each caramel filled ramekin. We need to bake the dishes in a Bain Marie-- which is a fancy way of saying to pour boiling water into the dish.  So that I don't accidentally splash water into the custard, I leave one ramekin out while filling the pan with boiling water-- then I place it back once the water is filled.  The water should come up halfway to the ramekins.

Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake at 325F until they are barely set. 

(A knife inserted halfway between the edge and the center should come out clean), 35 to 40 minutes)
Let cool in the water bath, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.  You can make these up to 3 days in advance, before serving-- but I've never tried that. (These babies are gone as soon as they are chilled.)

To serve these, I fill a bowl with warm water (not piping hot) and set the ramekin in it for a minute or two. Then I loosen the edges with a sharp knife and set a serving plate on top. Invert...and...

...behold!  Glorious, creamy custard with a pool of golden caramel sauce.  I could just slurp up that caramel sauce, it is so good! I can't wait to make these again!

In last year's  theme of Cinco de Mayo, I made--
These delicious Chicken Mole Sandwiches on homemade Bolillo Rolls.

This homemade Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Sauce) is really easy to make-- and is perfect for this sandwich, or as a dip with tortilla chips.

I love Mexican food, and I should! My father was Latino and I grew up with it.  Cinco de Mayo is a good excuse for me to make these recipes, but I love it year-round.

As always, a printable recipe card is at the end of this post.

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Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

We love flan but I've never been this adventuresome in making one. Love the way you used Mexican chocolate and added Kahlua, Debby. I serve a lot of Mexican food too and this will be wonderful after a heavy meal.

Kate Kaplan said...

Wow I love flan but I've never seen a recipe for chocolate flan!!! Yum! I can't wait to make this. Kate

Joanne said...

I DEFINITELY choose caramel over chocolate, no question! This flan sounds so tasty to me!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Oh Debby!!I'm swooning!!
Mary x

Julia | JuliasAlbum.com said...

I love desserts of flan-like texture! I recently made a berry clafoutis which is very much like flan. I am craving your chocolate flan right now!

Bunny said...

I am extremely jealous at this point. I've never had flan, looking at you exquisite picture is making me feel very sorry for myself. Gotta make this!

Sue/the view from great island said...

This is so creative---my husband would get down on his knees if I made this for him! It's going on the list, and pinning it for sure!

Pablo Alejandro Macías Torres said...

That's a gourmet flan! I love how mexican flavors are suitable for desserts and food in general, I never thought there was a dessert like this one made with chocolate!