Vanilla Custard or Flan
Comparing my grandmother's recipe to this boxed version turned to be somewhat near the mark. Grandma's was a hard pudding-like dish that had a drippy brown sauce on top of your spoonful. It was pretty good.
This boxed version had the flavor that I was remembering, but it was like eating a piece of tofu. It was firm, and was easy to cut. It maintained its shape on your fork all the way to your mouth.
You actually had to chew it. It was not soft and moist. But, give me credit. I gave it a try.
For the Custard:
- 4 cups milk
- 1 package Custard mix
- 1 capful real vanilla extract
For the caramel:
- 1 package caramel sauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
For the Topping:
- 1/4 cup E J brandy
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Start With Warmed Milk
The milk needs to be warm before you add the package of mix. After a couple minutes on medium heat, I felt the temperature of the milk. It was warm.
I added a capful of real vanilla extract to the milk at the same time I stirred the package in. I brought it to a slight boil at medium heat, and turned the burner down to a simmer for three minutes. Warning: Be wary, it does boil up if the heat is too high.
I used a 8 inch round Pyrex dish and the package of caramel needs to be smeared around in it. I tasted it and didn't like their burnt flavor, so I added a 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the caramel.
Once the milk mixture had boiled for 3 minutes, I poured it into the Pyrex dish. Do not stir. It will thicken as it sits and cools. After about an hour, I put a 1/4 cup of brown sugar across the surface, and poured a shot glass of brandy in the middle of the brown sugar. I then lit a match and lit the brandy. The brandy started on fire and melted the brown sugar evenly across the top of the custard.
I then placed the dish in the refrigerator.
Preparing a Caramel Lined Pan
The small package of liquid needs to be squeezed into the dish you intend to pour your custard into. I used an 8 inch pyrex dish, but the box says you can pour it into individual sized bowls.
I used a flat rubber spatula to move the caramel across the bottom of the dish, and I pulled it up the sides of the dish as well. I tasted it, and was not impressed by the burnt flavor. Someone else may think the flavor is fine. For me, I needed to sprinkle some brown sugar across the prepared caramel. Not much, just a 1/4 cup or less.
Caramel Mixture Was not Sweet Enough for Me
Preparing the Custard
Now that the milk has warmed up, add a capful of vanilla. Then, stir in the package of mix. Stir with a whisk.
Bring to a boil and then, simmer for 3 minutes. Stir constantly. Watch for boiling over. If it starts to creep up the side of the pan, turn your heat down.
As soon as the three minutes are up, take the pan off the heat. Now, pour it into the prepared caramel lined pan. You will need to let the dish cool. Probably for an hour, it will harden as it sits. When it is slightly hardened, sprinkle a 1/4 cup of brown sugar on the top, and pour a shotglass of Brandy in the middle. Light the brandy on fire with a burning match. The brandy will burn and the brown sugar will melt and spread across the surface of the custard.
Place in refrigerator.
Adding Powder Mix and Vanilla to the Milk
Boil for Three Minutes
Once it starts to boil, it only needs to boil for 3 minutes. Watch out for boil ups.
Then, after the three minutes are up, pour into the prepared dish.
Let it Cool
The next step involves sprinkling brown sugar and brandy on top of the custard and lighting the brandy on fire.
It's interesting to watch, because you literally light it on fire with a match. The brandy burns, and the sugar that is in the brandy melts across the custard. Then, you place the bowl in the refrigerator. It will continue to harden as it cools more.
Then, sample some. It tastes like the right stuff, but, it's too hard. Ok, Goldilocks.
I personally do not care for the hardness of the custard. The flavor is good, but the texture is not creamy like I was hoping.
Applying the Brandy and Lighting It
It's pretty straightforward. Sprinkle the sugar. Dump the shot on the middle of the custard. Start a match and ignite the brandy.
The brandy will burn and melt the brown sugar across the surface. It's very surreal.
Put it in the refrigerator. Let cool for several hours.