Good flan should have slight jiggle, but more along the lines of a trainer-tightened posterior than a waterbed. Good flan is minimalist and sleek, like an expensive silk blouse.
Notes: For easy measuring and easy clean-up, once you've poured the sweetened condensed milk into the blender, use the empty can to measure the milk. If you don't have a roasting pan for the bain-marie or water bath, use a baking dish large enough to accommodate the cake pan.
- Yield:6 to 8
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:4 hours
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 14 ounces milk at room temperature
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Place clean kitchen towel in roasting pan. Set 9-inch round baking pan on top of towel. Set tea kettle or pot of water to boil.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Dampen a clean pastry brush and brush down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan. Boil, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar turns deep amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel into the baking pan and swirl to coat to the bottom. Allow it to set, 5 to 10 minutes.
Place the sweetened condensed milk, milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together by hand in a large bowl). Pour the flan mixture over the set caramel.
Open the oven door and set the roasting pan and flan in the oven. Carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan—water should reach halfway up the sides of the flan pan. Bake until flan is set, but still a bit wobbly, about 1 hour.
Remove cake pan from roasting pan and cool on rack, about 15 minutes. Chill completely in refrigerator, 2 to 3 hours. Run a knife along the flan edges and invert onto serving plate. Serve.