Picture this…..Thanksgiving, 25 years or so ago. Tasks assigned over the phone just weeks before, each sibling was given a job to do. The host was in charge of roasting the turkey and making the gravy, the baker in the family made the desserts and the rolls, the sisters-in-law shared the sides and condiments, the brothers-in-law brought the wine and cider, the children, well, were children. Mom & Dad sat at their place of honor, at the ends of the table, and smiled at all the hustle-bustle and chaos of what was a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was a welcome nuisance. No one seemed to mind, everyone going about their appointed tasks. Over glasses of wine, families and lives were updated, recipes were swapped, place settings were determined, the turkey was carved and the children, well, were children, but were finally seated at their table. It was a Norman Rockwell scene. Over the years, even as the families grew, moved away and time marched on, the table no longer needs a size adjustment, the respected places of honor are now occupied by the eldest siblings and the children’s table is a plant stand, our Thanksgiving dinner was kept as traditional as it could be. So, even when the desserts and rolls are purchased, the condiments are in glass jars, the appetizers are healthier and smaller, whoever can, still sits down together and gives thanks. This year, nostalgia set in and I really wanted to bake a homemade dessert or two, and make my famous Parker House rolls. Unfortunately, nostalgia forgot to tell work, and once again leisure time is limited. Instead of my baking plans being squashed, I just squashed 3 recipes into 1 and am making an ImpossiblePumpkinChaiFlan Cake, a baking concept brought back from an era that is as old as that Norman Rockwell scene. —Stockout
Pumpkin Cake Layer
1 box Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix (I use Pillsbury 14oz)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
Chai Flan Layer
12oz can evaporated milk
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 can Mexican Crema
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 bottle prepared caramel sauce or 1 cup homemade, heat to a pourable stage
Mix eggs, buttermilk and oil together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix till blended well.
Chai Flan Layer
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
If using 8oz ramekins: Brush sides and bottoms with butter. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons hot caramel into each ramekin. Let cool. Scoop 1 oz (medium ice cream scoop) of pumpkin cake mixture per ramekin. Spread evenly to edges.
If using a 10” Pie or Cake pan 3” deep: Brush pan with butter or spray with release agent. Pour all of hot caramel into pan. Cool. Spoon pumpkin mixture and spread evenly to edges.
Mix eggs, crema, sweetened milk and spices in a blender. Add enough evaporated milk to make 3 ½ cups total liquid. Pour through a strainer into a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup.
Using a ladle, pour flan mixture into ladle and let it spill over the sides until it comes to the top of each ramekin. For pie pan, pour to top.
Set out a deep roasting pan (or pans) that’s larger than your ramekins or pie pan to act as a water bath during baking.
Place baking pans into roasting pans, place in oven and then pour hot water to 1” up the sides.
Start checking at 35 minutes for ramekins and 50 minutes for 10” cake pan.
Cake should be springy to the touch when done. A small crack in the cake is OK.
Remove from oven, then from water bath. Cool to room temperature, cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
To serve: Dip pan(s) in hot water to soften caramel and then carefully run a knife along the side. Place the serving dish on top and flip over. Give it a jiggle to help its release from the sides and pray it comes out.