This recipe was inspired by Barbara Hansen’s Flan Napolitano. The original recipe is a rich and silky-smooth custard that, unlike most other flan recipes, is not egg heavy. Adding pumpkin to the recipe resulted in what tasted like the offspring of pumpkin pie and crème brûlée. For as fancy as it seems, flan only requires 20 minutes of preparation, however, it requires that one plan ahead as it takes 2 hours to bake and 6-8 hours to chill.
Set a 2-quart round glass dish (9 inches round, 2 inch deep) in a 15 x 10 inch baking dish. Place the sugar in a heavy bottom pan, turn on heat to medium-high. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sugar melts and is a dark amber brown. Do not burn. Carefully pour into the round glass dish and IMMEDIATELY and CAREFULLY tilt so that the very hot caramel evenly coats the bottom of the dish. Set aside in the larger baking dish to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Now combine pumpkin, cream, sweetened condensed milk, milk, eggs and spices in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Pour mixture into the round glass dish prepared with caramel. Make sure it doesn’t overflow!*
Pour about 2 1/2 cups of water in the larger baking dish so that it reaches about half-way up the flan dish, like so. Take care not to get water in the flan. Lightly cover with foil. Bake for 2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the flan comes out clean.
Allow flan to cool in water dish for an hour. Remove from water and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, remove from fridge and let sit for 30 minutes, run a knife around the inside of the dish to loosen the flan. Place a dessert plate on top of the flan and invert.…and “invert” of course means that, while holding both plates tightly against each other, you quickly flip the flan onto the presentation plate in one smooth motion. the first time gabriela told me to “just flip it over” i slowly rotated the two plates thinking the flan would maintain its form while vertical. it doesn’t. -au