Here is a recipe that represents the essence of my childhood. It’s not only because I grew up in Latin America and we all love the creamy custard that you come to know as flan. When I was a kid, my mother didn’t own an oven. Our little stove only had two burners, and it sat on top of a metal table on the side of the kitchen with a hose connected to the propane tank right next to it. My dad couldn’t afford cakes from the bakery, which is why for every birthday we had a birthday flan instead that my mom made on the stovetop using the bain-marie method.
I found this picture of my 10th birthday, and sure enough there I am with my siblings, cousins and neighbor friends around my birthday flan with one single candle for me to blow 🙂
In Venezuela, we don’t call this custard flan, unless you make it from the powder in a box. If you make it from scratch, like my mom does, it is called “quesillo casero.” I think it’s called quesillo because it resembles a round cheese (queso). There is one piece of equipment that you can find in every Venezuelan home: Quesillera. It is a tin can that we use to make only quesillos, nothing else. A cookie tin works great to make this dessert. No need to worry about not having this unique piece of equipment. Even though this dessert can be made on the stovetop, I prefer to make it in the oven.
One of the main reasons I started writing this blog was to share my recipes with friends. When someone asked me for a recipe, I either wrote it down for them on a piece of paper or told them the source. Now I can just give them a link so they can have easy access to my repertoire, right? I was asked for this recipe twice in the last 3 weeks, so I am happy to finally post it here since it has been on my “pending posts” for a while.
(you will need a medium size cookie tin with cover)
For the caramel:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup passion fruit pulp
For the custardd:
5 large eggs
1- 14 oz. condensed milk
1- 5 oz. evaporated milk
1 cup passion fruit juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Make the caramel:
In a small saucepan add the sugar and the passion fruit juice, cook over medium heat moving the pan in circular waves until the sugar melts and thickens, obtaining a golden color. This requires a lot of attention, do not leave the pan unattended, the sugar could burn quickly. You want a caramel that is thick and golden but still moves around loosely. Carefully transfer the caramel into the cookie tin, making sure it covers the bottom. If/when using a quesillera, make the caramel directly in it.
Mix the custard:
Preheat your oven to 350° F
In a blender add all the ingredients and blend on high for 3 minutes. Carefully pour the custard on top of the caramel. Place the tin cover on. Place the closed tin in a large pan that fits comfortably, add enough water to the pan to cover 1/3 of the tin, making sure the water does not cover it. Place in the preheated oven until cooked through, about 60 minutes. Test with a toothpick, it is ready when it comes out clean. Let it cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, pass a knife along the edge, place a large serving plate on top of the tin and turn over the plate, wait few seconds until you feel the flan comes down to the plate. Enjoy!