Thanksgiving is the fall's big gathering. The kitchen is always crowded, with Ale passing Luli the daiquiri under Kendall's arm, while he is putting the bird in the oven. I'm balancing a glass of wine and reaching for a boniato handoff from Angela. The table is a long one on this day. We manage to blend some of our favorite Cuban flavors with this quintessential American holiday. We have a lot to be thankful for.
- 1¾ cup sugar
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup unflavored canned pumpkin puree
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a heavy saucepan melt 1 cup sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is amber in color and has turned into a smooth liquid. Immediately remove the syrup from heat and pour evenly into the bottom of a heated 9-inch glass pie plate, 2-quart casserole dish, or a cake mold. (To heat the dish, pour hot or boiling water into it and let stand for a minute or two, then drain and dry completely before adding the sugar syrup.)
In a heavy saucepan, bring the milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon stick, and salt to a boil over medium heat and remove from heat immediately. Discard the cinnamon stick.
In a large mixing bowl beat together the eggs, egg yolks, remaining sugar, and vanilla. While the beater is running, slowly add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture and beat until eggs are tempered, then slowly add the remaining hot milk.
Pour the mixture into the dish over the hardened sugar syrup and place in a baking pan. Add hot water to halfway up the side of the dish. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour or until the custard has set.
Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven and remove the flan dish from the hot water bath and allow to cool. While the flan is still warm, run a knife around the edge to loosen it.
To remove flan, place a large, deep plate face down on top of the dish and invert the flan onto the plate. Make sure the plate is large enough to hold the flan and has enough of a well to hold the syrup.
Flan can be served warm or chilled. The flan can be prepared 2 days in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.
Credits: From Our Latin Table by Fernando Saralegui. Reprinted with permission by Time Warner Bookmark.