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!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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FLAN DE NAPOLITANO AL MEZCAL
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 8 whole eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 8 strawberries for garnish
Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add and combine sweetened condensed & evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Set aside. Add sugar to 8″ skillet and caramelize on medium-high heat until it is golden color, stirring constantly. Make sure not to burn sugar. When sugar is fully melted down, carefully coat entire each ramekin, covering all sides, using circular motion (I suggest using a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel). Move fast if using a brush. Seal ramekins with aluminum foil.
Add 2 cups of water to large saucepan and gently place ramekins into Maria bath. Cook on medium heat for 45- 60 minutes or until fully cooked. Fill pan with water as it evaporates. If flan if firm but not solid, bring heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove ramekins from Maria bath and discard excess water from saucepan.
Do not remove flan from ramekins. Refrigerate for 8-9 hours, 4-5 hours (if you’re in a hurry); or overnight for best taste. Remove from refrigeration 30-45 minutes before serving to loosen some. To serve, using a butter knife, loosen the sides of the flan all the way around. Take a large plate, place upside down on top of flan and flip. Add mezcal sauce to plate. Garnish with one sliced strawberry per flan.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup lyncott creme
- 1/3 cup mezcal
In small saucepan, combine sugar and water to make caramel. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add caramel sauce to lyncott creme until you achieve consistency of a light creme sauce. Chill for 1 hour. Mix in mezcal.
Chef’s notes: I modified the cooking method due to lack of proper recipe from restaurant chefs. This is the same method I’ve shared for other flan recipes. The only difference is in the ingredients and making the mezcal sauce.