If you could pick one ingredient that is the most important to Mexican cuisine, what would it be? Chiles? Cilantro? Lime? For me, it would have to be corn. Mexicans invented corn for Pete’s sake. I’m not kidding, they selectively bred the grass, teosinte, over the course of thousands of years to create the corn we know and love today. Past and present, corn is such a deep part of Mexican culture.
But enough history, let’s talk food. Lend me your ear for a moment. (See what I did there. Ear? Corn? Har har har.) Time to get your flan on.
Corn is sweet, corn is creamy– just like flan. You heard me right. Sweet corn flan. Stay with me for a moment. Before you click off to watch cute kitten videos instead of trying out this recipe, I’ve got two words for you. Caramel. Corn. That is the exact inspiration behind this recipe.
This flan is definitely unique and I mean that in the best way. It has all of the best qualities of flan– a firm, creamy custard with a caramel sauce, but with the intriguing flavor of sweet corn. And yes, the taste is reminiscent of caramel corn. Omigod, so good.
This flan is the perfect way to try something sophisticated and outside of the box. And the best part is that it’s not any more work than a regular flan. The ingredients for the custard are simply blended and strained, just like you would when preparing a traditional flan. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
But let’s keep it real here for a moment. Even though sweet corn flan isn’t more difficult than regular flan, we all know that this is not the most simple dessert in the world to make. But don’t fret, my dear! I’ve got a few tips that will help you pull this dessert of without a hitch.
- Make the flan the day before you plan to serve it. This will ensure it is completely chilled, making it less likely to fall when you turn it out of the pan. Also, the more it chills, the more the caramel at the bottom will melt into a luscious sauce.
- Bake the flan at a gentle heat in a water bath and cover with foil. Flan has eggs and eggs are finicky. Cook ’em low and slow, baby. Also, covering the flan helps ensure it doesn’t develop a skin on top while cooking.
- Don’t forget to strain. This pulls out any unblended egg and corn pieces, leaving you with a silky custard.
- If you overcooked your caramel, don’t be afraid to start over. The caramel only contains sugar and water and these are very inexpensive ingredients. While I’m not a fan of wasting food, if the flan is covered in a caramel you don’t like, the sugar won’t be the only thing that could be wasted. At the same time, please keep in mind that the caramel for a flan is a bit darker than that of a caramel for a candy or sauce. So don’t be afraid to push it a bit.
- It’s done when… It can be a pain trying to tell when you’re flan is ready. If you’re not confident in your jiggle-judging skills, take the flan’s temperature. When the middle reaches 180ºF, it is perfect to take out of the oven.
- Have fun. Flan can smell fear, so be sure to enjoy yourself! Cooking is love. So put on your favorite music, light some candles, and surround yourself with positive energy. You are gonna do great!
What are your thoughts? What is the most Mexicanest ingredient ever? We wanna pick your brain! See you soon.
- 1 cup plus ¼ cup sugar, divided
- ¼ cup water
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 cups fresh or frozen, then thawed corn kernels
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Place a 9-inch round dish or 10 (4-ounce) ramekins in a pan at least 2 inches deep and large enough to fit the round dish or ramekins inside. Place a medium pot of water on high heat to come to a boil. This is for the water bath your flan will cook in.
- Place the 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Stir to moisten the sugar evenly, then place over a medium heat.
- Cook the mixture, without stirring, until it begins to brown around the edges. Swirl the pan occasionally to cook evenly, then continue cooking until the sugar turns a dark reddish brown and begins to smoke slightly. Remove the ramekins or round dish from the oven and carefully pour the hot caramel into the dish.
- Holding the dish(es) with an oven mitt or dry dish towel, carefully turn to evenly distribute the caramel on the bottom and sides of the dish(es). Place the dish(es) back in the pan they were in before. Set aside to cool while you make the flan custard.
- Place the remaining ¼ cup sugar, eggs, yolks, corn, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla in a blender. If all of the ingredients don’t fit in the blender, simply set the sweetened condensed milk aside. Blend until the corn is well blended.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, if the ingredients didn’t fit in the blender. Pour the blended custard into the ramekins or round with the caramel. Place the pan containing the round dish or ramekins in the oven and pour enough water to come halfway up the flan dish.
- Cover the flan with foil and bake in the water bath until the middle no longer jiggles in the middle, about 30-40 minutes for the ramekins and 50 minutes to 1 hour for the 9-inch round.
- Remove the flan from the water bath and chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. The longer the flan chills, the more caramel sauce you will get. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the flan, turn out onto a plate, and serve.