Bilingual is Better
Photo by: adactio

Photo by: adactio

“Es bien fácil“, or so says my mother-in-law as she’s melting sugar to make caramel and mixing a bunch of ingredients in the blender. She is trying to prove to me how easy it is to make flan de queso from scratch. Mind you, not only has she been cooking since she was born, but somehow she always fails to remember I couldn’t be more clumsy in the kitchen.

Unfortunately–and in what many would describe as very non-Latina–I hail from a long list of inept mujeres when it comes to the kitchen. I hate to admit it, but it’s my reality. Growing up, mi papá was the one who took care of our nourishment. It wouldn’t be fair to call him just a cook, though. He actually deserves the title of chef, for his dishes were always the most delicious treats. He had a knack for transforming a few mismatched ingredients into finger-licking meals. Food has always been extremely important in my family. My father firmly believed in “barriga llena, corazón contento” which loosely means that eating well will bring you happiness. Coincidentally, he used to say the same thing as my mother-in-law about the ease of cooking–I never understood why.

Flan de la Abuela: Y-U-M-M-Y!!!

Anyhow, my mother-in-law’s recipe for flan de queso has been posted on my fridge for at least a year now. I haven’t had the audacity to attempt making it. Truth be told, I’m afraid of failing. But, since Valentine’s is coming up and my husband has been more understanding than usual these last few weeks with the craziness my life has become in preparation for the launch of SpanglishBaby, I will go for it. And also, I have to admit, it’s important for me to learn how to make meals and desserts like this one, so Vanessa can learn more about our culture. After all, food is a huge part of our identity!

You might want to do the same with your children or maybe you’re just more skilled and adventurous in the kitchen than I am, so I’ve decided to share Abuelita Ivette’s recipe for what’s arguably the best flan de queso my palate has ever tasted…

Ingredients:

Photo by: Bill HR

Photo by: Bill HR

1 – can evaporated milk

1 – can condensed milk

3 – large eggs

1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese

1 – tsp. vanilla extract (or liqueur of your choice)

sugar and water (for the caramel.)

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients–minus the sugar and the water–in the blender. Set it aside.
  • Pour enough sugar in a metal pan to cover its bottom and add just a bit of water on medium heat. Stir occasionally until it becomes a light brown liquid.
  • As soon as that happens, pour it into a mold. Make sure you spread so it covers the bottom of the mold evenly. Wait until the caramel hardens, it will happen fairly quickly.
  • Then, pour the mixture from the blender into the mold. Cover it with foil paper and take to the oven which has been preheated to 350 F. The mold needs to be cooked using a method called baño maria. This means you boil water in a larger pan and place the mold inside it into the oven for one hour.
  • To check if its ready, use a knife to poke it. If it comes out clean, you need to take it out of the oven. Let it cool, this will take a while so be patient, and invert it so the caramel is exposed. Just writing about it makes my mouth water!

Good luck and, don’t worry, I will tell you all about how incredibly easy it was for me–yeah, right!–in a future post. In the meantime, I’ll just sign off by revealing that the only other ingredient I didn’t include in the recipe is: LOVE. You see, whenever we asked my Dad how come his dishes were so delicious, he would always answer: porque está hecho con amor.

¡Buen provecho! And, by the way, gracias Suegrita!!

We hope you attemp to make this recipe and then come back and tell us how it went. Or, maybe you can share with everybody your own links or recipe for flan!

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