Tag Archives: eggs

how not to make flan

1 Aug

I don’t know how to make flan.
I still don’t know how to make flan.

But, this recipe is super easy, and it came out pretty well—it’s worth a shot if you have a passion for custard.

Fail 1: I opted to stir the caramel as it was bubbling… I don’t know why I did it, I know how to make caramel! At any rate, it thickened out of control, and I poured it off into a hot baking pan. After a moment of indecision, I poured my custard into the hot baking pan on top of the custard—no curdles to be seen—and foiled tight.

Fail 2: I think I left my pan in the oven slightly longer than recommended (blame it on the wine), so the outer ring of my flan was a bit bubbly and scrambled egg-like. The center was creamy and the caramel was dark and delicious. The trickiest thing was deciding on the doneness of the caramel, and if it would be okay to pour the custard right over the hot caramel.

At unveil, the flan clung to the pan and a small section ripped out upon inversion. Luckily, the deluge of caramel sauce that followed handily masked the botch…flan-tastic!

really easy flan
don’t flan-it-up (like me)

* 1 cup white sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool. Serves 8.

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chawanmushi: savory japanese custard

25 Jul

My Chinese grandma always made delicate, silky, steamed egg custard in a large ramen bowl that she would swirl a spoonful of oyster sauce over before serving. We’d scoop a jiggly portion onto our rice to eat alongside our meal.

The Japanese have their own version called chawanmushi, which is served in individual lidded cups at the conclusion of a meal. Traditionally, each cup of custard contains a piece of shrimp, chicken, ginko nut, and vegetable such as mushroom or snow pea.

Recently, J and I decided to try our hand at a mushroom chawanmushi as part of our Shabu Sunday ritual. Since we were boiling a large pot of water for our shabu shabu, we steamed the chawanmushi in the same pot beforehand.

Unlike the Chinese-style steamed custard, chawanmushi uses dashi stock and sake instead of chicken broth, plus a little soy sauce and sugar.

The secret to making any great custard is proper cooking. For steamed eggs, you want to put your heatproof dish in at a high boil, then a couple minutes later, turn it down to low—or completely turn it off, as my grandma does—and let it slowly cook for the majority of the cooking time.

Traditionalists will also tell you to gently whisk the eggs with a pair of chopsticks in a figure-8 pattern for an hour, so no bubbles form, but I tend to believe a quick pour through a fine mesh sieve and a skim with a spoon does just as well. When you add mushrooms as we did, you can hardly tell where any bubbles form on the surface.

Our first time around, our chawanmushi came our flawlessly. Silky, delicate heavenly spoonfuls of custard and perfectly plump mushrooms. Like sunshine in a cup!
chawanmushi: savory japanese custard
sunshine in a cup

* 3 eggs
* 2 cup dashi soup stock
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp soy sauce
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1 tsp sake
* 1/2 cup enoki mushrooms or 4 shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and thinly sliced

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Try not to bubble the eggs. Mix cool dashi soup stock, soy sauce, salt, sake, and sugar in another bowl. Add the dashi mixture in the egg mixture gradually. Strain the egg mixture.

Put mushrooms in four chawanmushi cups. Fill each cup to 3/4 full with the egg mixture. Cover the cups.

Preheat a steamer on high heat. Carefully place cups in the steamer and steam on high heat for three minutes. Turn down the heat to low and steam for about 10-15 minutes or until custard is set. Serves 4.