Banh Flan (Caramel Flan)
This is a French dessert that made its way into Vietnamese Cuisine via the French colonization of Vietnam. Traditionally, Flan is usually baked in a water bath. However, ovens are rare in Vietnam and hard to operate (only serious or professional bakers own and know how to properly operate an oven). This is one of the reasons why Vietnamese cakes and pasties are usually steam, or boiledâ€¦very rarely baked. The steaming method is much faster than baking but harder to master. Heat from steam is nothing like heat from an oven. Therefore the â€œmethodâ€ has to be slightly adjusted in order to render a desirable flan.
For every 3 tbs of sugar, add 1 tsp water. Boil the two together until golden carefully pour hot caramel into a â€œmouldâ€. The caramel should harden when it cools.
-500g fresh milk or cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
What to Do:
Stir together eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla. Strain the mixture a few times. Pour mixture into prepared mould. Steam over high heat for 5 mins, lift steamer lid to release excess steam and steam for another 5 mins. Turn off the heat and let the flan cool in the steamer to room temperature.
Avoid agitating the eggs as much as possible. Less agitation means a smoother texture flan. The steaming time varies depending on the size of mould used. The main idea is to steam the flan Â½ – Â¾ cooked and let carryover heat do the rest of the work. Over steaming will negatively affect the texture.
*Orange Flan: Add finely grated orange zest
**Coconut Flan: Use coconut milk in place of milk (or Â½ coconut milk, Â½ milk)
***Coffee Flan: Replace part of the milk with coffee (amount depends on your taste)