Mexican Chocolate Flan Recipe
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces in 1862. The celebrations here in the Bay Area are always fun and I wanted to get in on the festivities. I love chocolate desserts, so I made a spiced chocolate flan.
I flavored the custard with Mexican chocolate, cinnamon and a small amount of cayenne pepper for a pleasant warmth at the end. Enjoy!
Yields: 6 mini-ramekins1-½ cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
3/4 cup Mexican chocolate, chopped
3 egg yolks
3 eggs (you will need 6 eggs total)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipped cream (optional)
12 dark chocolate pearls , for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Line up 6 (6-ounce) ramekins. In a small saucepan, gently dissolve a scant cup of sugar with water. Bring to a full boil, then lower to medium-low until the caramel becomes golden brown (about 5-6 minutes). As soon as the caramel is the right golden brown color, pour a layer of caramel into each ramekin.
In a small saucepan, combine the cinnamon, heavy cream and milk. Bring to a near boil. Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Add the cayenne pepper. Using a spatula, keep stirring until the chocolate is fully incorporated (see tips). Let the liquid cool a bit.
Separately, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs with the rest of the sugar in a mixing bowl until it becomes pale yellow. Add salt. Combine the dairy liquid with the egg mixture by slowly adding a ladle of the dairy liquid at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling (it's called tempering).
Strain through a fine mesh and discard all the solids and spices.
Fill the 6 ramekins with the mixture. Place them in a warm water bath in a deep baking pan. The water should go half-way up the side of the ramekins. Bake for 10 minutes at 300°F, then lower the heat to 275°F and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes. The texture of the flan should be jiggly but not too liquid.
Let the flans cool first, then plastic-wrap each individual ramekin and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The texture will become firmer.
This step is optional. Place a dessert plate onto each ramekin and turn both upside down to unmold the flan onto the plate.
Pipe whipped cream. Top with chocolate pearls (if used) and fresh mint leaves.
Set aside the egg whites in the refrigerator and save them for making tuiles cookies, meringues or macaroons.
When making the caramel, make sure all the sugar is dissolved and there is no sugar on the side of the saucepan. This way no sugar gets burnt and you have an easier clean-up. Prior to placing the saucepan on the stove, I usually slightly dissolve the sugar by creating a swirl in the center of the saucepan with my finger. During the caramelization process, if you see sugar on the side of the saucepan, just brush the side with a wet brush.
Mexican chocolate is a type of chocolate which is prepared with an assortment of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, sometimes chiles) for a distinctive flavor. You can find it at Whole Foods. You could use any other kind of dark chocolate; just make sure it's at least 65%.
For decoration, I used Godiva chocolate pearls.
While letting the chocolate steep in the dairy mixture, it's preferable to stir the mixture until the liquid is smooth, rather than whisking, to create as little milk froth as possible. You don't want a latte foam to form.
As opposed to flan, crème brulée has a hard caramel topping. Check out my other French custard desserts.
You could pair the custard with other ingredients such as freshly grated orange zest, coffee, or almonds. They go wonderfully with chocolate.
Flip the flan only when you're ready to serve. If you want to be even more cautious, you can use a paring knife around the flan right before flipping the ramekin.
When it's time to clean up, just boil some water and pour the hot water into the ramekins so the caramel dissolves for easy clean-up.Published By: on May 3, 2011.