Another wonderful summer has come and gone without Mom in our lives. It’s hard to believe next month will be six years since her death. She’d be amazed that her grand daughter (my daughter) — the little 6-year old girl she last saw coloring get well pictures on the floor of her hospital room–is now taller than me, has finished losing her teeth and wearing braces, and is entering 7th grade.
Her grandson is no longer the stumbling 3-year old boy but rather a very caring, creative, intelligent 9-year old. As the years slip by, we’re desperately trying to hold onto the memories she left us but, it’s hard.
Thankfully, she’s very much alive in our kitchen.
This past holiday weekend, part of the family got together to relax and spend some quality time. We’ve all settled in different states so the limited time we have together is highly cherished. There was no question that the first meal we’d share together had to be mom’s Garlic Chicken— hands down everyone’s favorite and certainly one of her most memorable dishes. For the last meal of the weekend, we decided to replicate a version of her Flan recipe.
As children, Mom’s flan was a show-stopper. After many of her dinner parties — for which she personally cooked all of the dishes–she’d present her flan. She’d turn off the lights to the room and walk in carrying the gorgeous flan lit on fire. The blue hue of the flame (induced by the rum that she’d douse all over the top of the dish) created a magical aura that would stop conversation and instill a moment of peaceful silence. The flan itself was amazing (if you like the custard-like consistency of the dessert).
As we were recreating the flan, I thought once again of the cycle of life. Mom’s oldest grandson (now 14 1/2) was spearheading the process with her youngest grandson (now 9). As they took joy in caramelizing the sugar and beating the eggs, I couldn’t help but imagine Mom going through those same exercises in her kitchen in Baltimore.
We then watched my father lovingly pour the celebratory layer of rum atop the completed dish. We turned off the lights and stood mesmerized at the shimmering blue flame — Mom’s spirit.
I’m not sure our flan tasted nearly as good as Mom’s but then again, does anything ever taste as good as the memories?
Enjoy this simple, rich and creamy recipe for Caramel Flan. It pairs well with any dish and when served cold, it’s very refreshing.
from All Recipes.com
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 5 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Rum
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a small nonstick saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat. Shake and swirl occasionally to distribute sugar until it is dissolved and begins to brown. Lift the pan over the heat source (4 to 6 inches) and continue to brown the sugar until it becomes a dark golden brown. You may slightly stir while cooking, but continually stirring causes the sugar to crystallize. Pour caramelized sugar into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish or a large loaf pan, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
- In a blender, combine sweetened condensed milk, cream, milk, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for one minute. Pour over the caramelized sugar.
- Place the filled casserole dish into a larger pan and add 1 inch of HOT water to the outer pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until set.
- Let sit at least 2 hours in refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, pour small amount of Rum atop flan so it covers the top. Light the dessert with a match! Enjoy.