A good homemade egg flan is in itself a delicious dessert, but if we want to curl the curl we can tune it up by adding other seasonal ingredients such as chestnuts, of which I declare myself a superfan. I am such a fan that during their short season I usually eat them for breakfast alone, lightly cooked in the microwave, giving them a previous cut in the shell so that they do not explode.
Chestnuts cooked and mixed with other ingredients always provide an extraordinarily subtle flavor, as in this chestnut flan, no more and no less (which also gives it a slightly firmer consistency than a conventional flan). Here the chestnuts are in the form of an unsweetened cream or puree, which can be found relatively easily in stores in the fall or before Christmas. If you are very diligent, you can prepare the same amount of cream that is used in the recipe, cooking the peeled chestnuts from their hard shell in milk, removing the inner skin when they are soft and mashing them with a little of the same cooking milk.
As for the cuajado of the flans, you know that the traditional method is the bain-marie in the oven (which perhaps is not very efficient energetically speaking, much less with the times). As the most efficient method, a steamer is great for this task, although it must be large enough to fit all the flaneras. In my humble opinion, one of the best methods is a bain-marie in a casserole on the fire, keeping the water at a low boil and taking care to place a grid or folded cloth between the bottom of the casserole and the flaneras, so that they receive the heat of the water through its bottom and not directly from the fire.
Some people are very much in favor of using the pressure cooker, but the black boxes in which you don’t know what is happening make me very nervous. Of course, whatever method you use, it is always convenient to cover the flaneras so that the upper part of the sweet does not dry out and, incidentally, too much water does not enter due to condensation.
That of not burning the caramel, curdling the flans well without making them look like reinforced concrete and unmolding them without disrupting them. You can.
For 6 small flans
for the caramel
- 80g of sugar
- 1 tbsp. of water
For the chestnut flan
- 250 g canned chestnut puree/cream, unsweetened
- 300 g of whole milk
- 100 g of cream, minimum 35% mg (do not use cream for cooking, but for whipping)
- 130g of sugar
- 4 eggs L
For the caramel, put the sugar with the water in a saucepan. Heat over high heat until it begins to take on an amber hue; do not stir with any utensil other than giving the saucepan a swing.
When it is the desired color (be careful, it is better to stay short of color because it heats up so much that it continues to caramelize until it begins to cool in the flaneras), pour into six individual flaneras (about 100 ml) or one large one, handling all the containers with be very careful because the caramel is at a very high temperature and can pupate a lot. Tilt the flaneras while they are turned so that the caramel covers the entire bottom and let cool.
In a bowl, mix all the flan ingredients with a mixer, so that the chestnut puree dissolves properly; Continue mixing until all the sugar has dissolved.
Divide among the flaneras. Cover each one with a piece of aluminum foil.
Heat the oven to 150 °C and place the flaneras in a dish where they fit tightly.
Put a liter of water to boil. When it boils, put the dish in the oven and pour the boiling water into the dish, up to at least half the height of the molds.
Close the oven and cook in a bain-marie for 35-40 minutes (if we use a single flanera the time will be a little longer, at least 10 additional minutes).
If it is done on the fire, put water to boil in a saucepan with a rack or cloth in the bottom. Very carefully introduce the flaneras into the water about to boil. Cook for 35-40 minutes over very low heat (if we use a single flanera the time will be a little longer, at least 10 additional minutes).
After the time that corresponds to each method, check that the flans are curdled: take one out and prick the center with a knife, with caution; it should be noticeable curdled and the knife should come out more or less clean.
Remove the flaneras from the water bath and let cool completely at room temperature, without uncovering. Then, refrigerate for at least six hours in the fridge, covering them with film.
To unmold, carefully pass a blunt knife between the flan and the mold. Invert the flanera on a plate, carefully insert the knife into the side again to break the vacuum and that’s it.
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