There are three essential keys to perfecting this delicious caramel crème. First, always mix your custard by hand to create as few bubbles as possible. If you have bubbles, let your custard mix until they dissipate. Second, always strain your custard. A sieve will catch any clumps and pop any bubbles. Third, always bake your flan in a bain marie (water bath) to protect it from cooking too quickly and curdling or turning rubbery.
Tart and sweet passion fruit flan
- Loaf pan, pie pan, bundt pan or ramekins
- Large baking pan for water bath
- 2 cups passion fruit juice
- 5 eggs large
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk 14 oz
- 2 cups half and half or 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 or 4 fresh passion fruit for topping optional but highly recommended
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
For Passion Fruit Reduction
- Measure out 1.5 cups of your passion fruit juice. In a small pan, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer over medium-low. Let juice reduce to at least half the volume, until it thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Let cool.
- Add the remaining half cup of juice to your pan and again reduce by half over medium-low heat. Add your sugar, stir. At first the mixture will be thick and slushy, allow the sugar to melt into the juice. The sugar will liquify. Continue to heat while stirring until has a syrupy consistency and is a deep orange colour (think apricot jam). You don't want it to get too dark, as resulting bitter flavour will overpower the passion fruit. Work quickly as it gets dark and burns rather quickly.
- Once you get the colour you want, quickly pour the caramel into your pan. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan, and work the mixture slightly up the sides as well. Work fast because it will harden quickly.
- When the passion fruit caramel is rock hard in the pan, place it into a larger pan with high sides for your 'bain marie' or water bath.
- To make custard, add your eggs to a mixing bowl and whisky gently. Add your milks, salt, and reduced passion fruit juice. If many bubbles developed while stirring, let it sit a few minutes until they dissipate.
- Pour custard mixture through a sieve into the loaf pan and onto the caramel. The sieve will catch any chunks and burst any bubbles in the mixture, ensuring a smooth flan.
Baking and Serving
- Place the flan into a larger pan to make your water bath. Place your large vessel onto a rack in the middle of the oven and carefully pour your hottest tap water into the larger pan to surround your flan. This will ensure that the custard cooks gently and will not curdle or get rubbery, do NOT skip this step!
- Bake for approximately an hour. Begin checking for doneness with a toothpick at around 50 minutes. This one baked for 1 hour 15 minutes, but please test it and do not go by time. It should be cooked enough for a toothpick to come out (almost totally) clean, but it should still be jiggly!
- Let it cool then chill in fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Run a sharp knife along the edges to loosen flan and turn out onto a plate with enough of a rim to hold the caramel that will pour out. Top with fresh passion fruit pulp if you have it and enjoy!