The Thanksgiving table is a parade of sides, and the grand marshall is the turkey, but what about dessert? The Thanksgiving dessert table many times is a collection of pies, pecan and pumpkin being the most popular but, have you ever tried flan for Thanksgiving? Every Thanksgiving of my life, flan has made an appearance. Shoot! If you’re from a Latin home, you can be sure that flan will make an appearance at every family or holiday function.
Flan is the bomb; heck flan is magic! There are many different kinds of flan. Cheese, coconut, vanilla, rum, coffee, chocolate–you think of it, it’s probably been done. I gravitate toward cheese or coconut. But, since we are talking Thanksgiving I made pumpkin flan. If you have never had flan before let me give you a quick lesson. There are a lot of things that make a flan delicious. The creamy texture, the caramel and for some of us it reminds us of home. Many things can make a flan delicious but, there are just as many things that can make it bad.
Traits of a Bad Flan:
- Strong eggy flavor (So bad!)
- Cheese flan with a lumpy cheese layer
- Burnt caramel
- Grainy texture or air pockets.
- Skin. Skin is bad.
How to avoid bad flan:
Strong eggy flavor
I find that any flan using more than six eggs is going to be bad. I find that the magic egg number is five. If you see a recipe that calls for more than six eggs in one flan run in the opposite direction.
Cheese flan with lumpy layer
It’s all about soft cream cheese and room temperature eggs. Cold cream cheese is hard to break down and make smooth, and if you eggs are cold, your cream cheese will clump. Keep both cheese and eggs room temperature and beat until creamy. Also, a fine mesh strainer is your best friend.
WATCH YOUR CARAMEL! The moment you walk away from the stove I promise you it will over brown and burn. Also, you may be tempted to turn up the heat and hurry the process. DON’T DO IT! Be patience it will melt and it will be the perfect golden brown.
Grainy texture or air pockets
This can happen from over whisking your batter. Whisking will incorporate air into your batter. I find it is better to use a paddle instead of a whisk. Also, cooking at too high a temperature can cause the custard to curdle and result in graininess. Cook your flan low and slow and DO NOT forget to cook it in a water bath.
Skin happens from over cooking. As soon at you see your flan has set and stopped jiggling, pull it and let it cool.
Pumpkin flan is a great addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table, and it can be made days ahead of time. Also, I have found that it satisfies pumpkin pie lover and non-lovers. It’s the perfect crowd pleaser. It has the creamy texture of a firm custard and the familiar, comforting taste of pumpkin pie! Mmmmm!
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 5 eggs
- 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- Preheat oven to 350
- Heat the sugar carefully in a heavy saucepan until it caramelizes. Pour the caramel into a round 8-inch pan; set aside.
- Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour the flan mixture into the caramelized saucepan.
- Place flan into a large roasting pan in the oven and pour water into the roasting pan outside of the cake pan until the water covers the flan half way. Bake for 1 hour or until set.
- Let flan cool completely in pan. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and carefully invert onto a large rimmed platter. Place in refrigerator chill before serving.