This time last Friday I was cooking in a commercial kitchen in México. It was 8 am. Quiet. 3 chefs and 2 cooks in the back, prepping for the day. I was pent up at Camino Real Polanco, a swanky 5 star hotel in a super chic neighborhood in México City. The hotel boasts 7 restaurants, most of them outstanding. All eclectic and diverse in cuisine. My purpose there was to get a super fast taste of the city, starting with a sit down dinner at restaurant Maria Bonita, the exclusive Méxican kitchen in the hotel. When I told our host about Flan Friday’s, she got as excited as I do when I dream up a new flavor. It took no hesitation to invite me into the kitchen the following morning to co-create this right here! I was going to post it that day, but we were whisked off to a marvelous market.
It would only make sense that I pull all strings to make a flan in México, right? When they asked me what I wanted to make, I quickly suggested one inspired by their most noted ingredients, savory or otherwise. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw bottles of mezcal, a concentrated variety of tequila laid out on the prep table. I was down for it. The mise en place looked similar to mine but oh how quickly things changed once we started making it.
They had double the amount of eggs, use evaporated milk, and much more sugar. Those differences don’t sound so major, but in the end, the consistency and color are completely different. And, you know how I do! Pressure cooker, baby. Yes, please. No matter the amount or size. My custard goes into that monster machine 9/10 times. I wasn’t surprised we were baking it the traditional way, but I knew my time was limited. The nice young lady managing our experience and I chatted, exchanged notes and ideas.
Our decision to use mezcal vs. tequila was my idea only because it’s relatively new to me and I’ve done ridiculously good tequila one here. As a stand alone shot, I can’t handle its burn and intensity. I’ll leave that swig to the pros. I couldn’t even sip without choking like a I had crickets in my mouth! Oh, wait, I had those too. I’ll save that story for my posts on this fun trip. But, mixed into the custard and the base for the creamy sauce, the mezcal works. It pairs wonderfully with the sugars and if you dip the fresh strawberries in it, it’s like enjoying a delicate strawberries and cream dessert.
I was so thrilled to be up bright and early working in a kitchen not belonging to me and actually brining my (what’s supposed to be every single Friday) weekly feature to you straight from Mexico, where legend says the custard was formalized.
Asi que, desde la cocina en México a tu pantaya, enjoy this ramekin sized flan full of local goodness, delicacy and tremendous flavor. The creme sauce alone is liquid awesome!
HAPPY #FLANFRIDAY! ¡FELIZ VIERNES DE FLAN!