For this Lunes Latino I am bringing you a quintessential Latin dessert and just like many other Lunes Latino recipes, there is some explanation to do in order to clarify its name and its variations around Latin America.
In a nutshell the basic concept of this custard is a mixture of eggs, milk and sugar baked using the bain-marie method in a mold covered with caramel. But it is called Flan by some and Quesillo by others.
I have only heard this dessert called quesillo in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. In most other Latin American countries, quesillo refers to some sort of cheese or cheese based dish. Flan is more widely used to refer to this dessert but I recently learned that Brazilans call it Pudim.
What makes this a flan, pudim or quesillo? From my experience quesillo is more dense and less smooth than the flan and pudim. The ingredients are the same but the way you work them into the recipe can alter the final product. The main physical difference is that the quesillo custard usually has small bubbles, hence its believed the term quesillo was born because it almost resembles Swiss cheese (queso).
Despite growing up eating quesillo at home, I loved getting the smooth consistency of flans when ordered at restaurants so I have mastered over the years how to get that silky consistency and I want to share my tricks with you.
Have you tried this dessert? how do you call it? Flan, Quesillo or Pudim?
For this post I decided to add a twist by making the flan peach flavored and offer a new idea for those that already enjoy the basic concept. If you would like to make the basic recipe, just omit the peaches and replace the peach schnapps for rum as an optional kick of flavor.
To start, make the caramel. It is as simple as melting sugar ..ohh wait, yes, that is simply it!
Then assemble the peaches in one layer freely. The reason I assembled the peaches this way, was because I had the idea of making a Flan Tatin, almost like an upside down cake but with flan. I beautifully arranged all the peaches encrusted in the caramel to then cover it with the custard but my idea didn’t work quite well … keep reading to find out why.
The main trick to make this a smooth custard is to whip the yolks for five minutes until they turn a pale yellow color. Some people discard the egg whites completely trying to avoid the bubbles in the custard but there is really no need to as long as you beat the yolks very well.
My brilliant idea of pouring the egg mixture over the peaches failed. All the peaches started floating and away it went my meticulously placed peach slices. I am thinking I could have avoided this by placing the peaches first and then pouring the caramel so it would harden with the peaches in place. I will try that next.
As you can see the peaches did not stay in place but the result was stunning anyways and the taste divine.
By whipping the yolks on its own, you avoid getting barely any bubbles in the custard. Using the bain-marie method to bake it, also helps with a more even cooking. Enjoy!
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 small peaches, peeled and sliced
- 4 eggs
- 1 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 shot peach schnapps liquor (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add sugar to a medium sauce pan over medium high heat and stir until melted and color turns deep amber (not burned)
- Pour enough caramel to cover a round baking dish. I used a 9 x 1.5 inches but another size that holds this amount of liquid will do. Is best if is between 1.5 to 3 inches tall.
- Arrange one layer of peaches freely on top of the caramel and set pan aside.
- Separate the egg yolks and whites.
- Keep whites aside and beat the yolks for five minutes until its color start turning pale yellow.
- Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, egg whites, peach schnapps and vanilla extract. Keep mixing until well combined.
- Pour mixture over peaches and caramel. Keep in mind that peaches wont stay in place and most likely will float as you pour the mixture. To avoid this, next time I will plan to place peaches first, then the caramel and once the caramel has harden I will then pour egg mixture.
- Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place inside a lager pan with enough water to cover about half of the sides of the pan containing the flan mixture.
- Bake in a 300 F preheated oven for 1 hour . The consistency will be jiggly but you do not want to over cook it or bubbles will form. When inserting a knife it must come clean.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.