You know how you get a song stuck in your head for a week and no matter what you do, you keep singing it to yourself and annoy anyone who hangs out with you for more than 10 minutes?
You know how that same thing happens, but with a particular dessert and then all you want to do is eat it and make it? No, just me? Aight.
Ever since I had some rocking flan at this restaurant a couple weeks back, I’ve been fidgeting for it. And now that’s officially pumpkin season, I’m always looking for new ways to cook with this autumn squash. I luh me some pie, don’t get me wrong, but there’s so much more dessert to be had – like flan!
This flan has fall written all over it – orange delicious pumpkin, maple syrup sweetener (or in my case, Trader Joe’s pancake syrup, because Trader Joe’s is the answer to everything), and rich caramel enrobing the custardy goodness underneath. In traditional flan recipes, you cook the caramel from scratch and pour it into the molds, but because I’m on a time crunch approximately 95 percent of the time, I backed into premade caramel sauce from – you guessed it – Trader Joe’s. It worked just fine and I even had some left over to eat a spoonful from the jar.
The key to success for this flan is to reduce, or boil down, the maple syrup. You can do this with a candy thermometer or the old school way, which is what us gangstas do. To check if the syrup is at the soft-ball stage, put a drop on the kitchen counter and wait a few seconds. It should scrape off without falling apart and be relatively pliable. Getting to this stage is important as it ensures that your flan isn’t too liquidy and you don’t overbake it.
I’ll post a more traditional flan recipe sometime next week. In the meanwhile, I hope you get this fall version stuck in your head because it’s definitely been stuck in mine.
Pumpkin Maple Flan
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Scoop 1 Tablespoon of caramel sauce into each ramekin and swirl around until the bottoms are evenly coated. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Set aside.
- On medium-high, boil the maple syrup until it reaches the soft-ball stage. Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in cream, milk, and salt. Add, one ladle at a time, to the egg yolk mixture, mixing constantly, until everything is fully incorporated. Mix in pumpkin.
- Evenly fill all the ramekins. Place them in a 9×13 pan and fill the pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil and punch holes in the top.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. The flans will still be pretty jiggly. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the water bath. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving.
- To serve, take a small offset spatula or a paring knife and run along the outside of the of the flans. Flip over into serving bowl or plate and let all the extra caramel drip over it.