Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: Alice shows us how to make a sultry sauce for our flan, without any extra cooking.
Maybe you shy away from making a simple flan or crème caramel because caramelizing the sugar and getting into the little cups before it hardens seems daunting. Or maybe you just want to try something different and sensational.
Here is a super easy -- possibly even more delicious -- alternative to caramel for the bottom of your flan:
Just prep for your favorite flan or crème caramel recipe, but omit the caramelizing step (or use mine, linked below).
Instead, (for eight 5- to 6-ounce cups) mix 2/3 cup (gently packed) lump-free dark muscovado sugar (see note) thoroughly with a generous 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Divide the mixture among the cups and press it gently into the bottom of each with the bottom of another cup. Prepare the flan mixture as directed and ladle it as gently as possible (to avoid disturbing the sugar) into the cups. A little sugar may float up to the surface, but it will settle down later. Proceed as directed in the recipe. Chill the flans overnight before serving to allow time for the sugar to liquefy and form a sauce.
Note: Light and dark muscovado sugars are available in better supermarkets and specialty stores or online. Dark muscovado is the more beautiful and flavorful choice here.
Adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2012)
3/4 cups firmly packed dark muscovado sugar
3/8 teaspoons salt
5 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups half-and-half
Alice's most recent book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, doles out delicious dessert recipes that don't take hours of prep (a lot of them don't even require turning on the oven) -- everything from lattice-free linzer to one-bowl French chocolate torte.
Photos by James Ransom