Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Cinco de Mayo One

It is a common misconception in the United States that Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico commemorating their independence. No es verdad. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in and around the state of Puebla and very few other places in Mexico, commemorating their underdog defeat of French troops in 1862 in the battle of Puebla. Here’s the thing: I don’t care. It is a great excuse to eat Mexican food, which I love love love. And I’ve been obsessed with food this week anyway.

I could eat crispy fried machaca (shredded) beef tacos for every meal. And then I would look like this:


And surprisingly, I am very nearly okay with that. So anyway, let’s cut to the chase…dessert. I am just going to put it out there: I never liked flan. I thought it was disgusting pudding with brown ooze. I had it all wrong. It is the richest crème custard imaginable, cooked gently in a baña María (otherwise known as a water bath, or bain Marie…but this is Cinco de Mayo, amigos) in a pan that has been treated to a coating of caramelized-sugar-turned-hard-candy, so that it soaks in just the littlest bit, and then leaves this lovely caramel syrup to drizzle over the top.

I like to eat flan in a restaurant, but I have to tell you, that my own homemade flan is about ten times better. I usually burn myself at least once in the process of caramelizing the sugar and coating the pan in it, but it is so totally worth it. The recipe I am including steeps some fresh vanilla bean in the cream. You don’t have to do that…you can use pure vanilla extract. But the little flecks of vanilla add a fun texture and appearance, as well as flavor. I like to cut it up into one-inch cubes of sin and serve it in a bowl with whipped cream and sliced strawberries…and then drizzle some extra caramel over the top. Oh, and then hide in the pantry with a spoon, eating the hard candy sugar caramel off the sides of the pan. I already embarrassed myself with this earlier today. I coated the pans in caramel right before I had to pick up Skippy from kindergarten...and on my way out the door, I spotted that big wooden spoon covered in ribbons of golden sugar candy. It was like a grown-up lollipop. I drove to the school with it in my mouth. Seriously...no impulse control.

Now, go try this at home. You don’t have to make it on Cinco de Mayo. After all, as I already pointed out, it is kind of a fake holiday anyway. I can’t post an acutal photo of my flan yet, as it has to chill for at least another five or six more hours... Oh! and my apologies to the sensitive among you, for posting a swimsuit photo. We should all love our bodies, people.

Victoria’s Favorite Flan Recipe
and
Best Chicken Enchiladas
(check the comments about this recipe)

11 comments:

Nan said...

Um...I am totally going to try making flan this weekend. How do I make shrimp enchiladas to go with the flan? (I am such a recipe scammer...

Lisa--aka The Gardenweasel said...

I LOVE LOVE flan, too.

My twin sister broke her jaw playing soccer when we were in junior high. We grew up a few miles from Tijuana and some of our greatest friends owned the Jai-Alai palace and were also wonderful cooks (but I have digressed...a lot). Anyway, when Lori broke her jaw their daughter Aranzazu brought over the best flan in the world. It was amazing. I have never tasted any flan like it. EVER.

When my daughter was little, she got free flan for her birthday at a Mexican restaurant. She was only four but as she took a heaping bite she stopped, gagged and said, "Hey! this tastes like coffee-cheese!"

We call a bad flan coffee-cheese from now on. The weird thing is she has never had coffee, nor have I, but I think she is right. Coffee-cheese

Victoria said...

Nan, I'm trying a recipe in Bon Appetít for shrimp enchiladas verdes...but I can't vouch for it yet. But I have a fun chicken enchiladas recipe that I'll put with the flan recipe. It would be delicious with shrimp instead of chicken. If it were me, I would saute the shrimp with the onions and peppers, just until they are pink...mmm. I may do that!!! Enjoy...

Debbie said...

We totally had a Cinco de Mayo party today just for the Mexican food. Rock on!
You know I never thought I'd try flan but after reading this I think I just might. Thanks!

Nan said...

Thanks Victoria!

linds said...

HAHAHA. I would look like this. I LOVE mexican food so much. I'm practically a taco.

shelby said...

"it's SIN with whip cream and strawberries."

aka DELICIOUS-ness

Victoria said...

Haha... I'm glad you enjoyed it, Shel... it was fun that you guys came over last night:)

Tyler said...

FINE! if no one else will say it I will!

That picture should have never been posted. I would say taken, but that is up to the discretion of the photographer and the 'sweet spirit' being potographed. Said Photo sould have also not ever been posted in a public place, being of such a provocative nature.

Next time put a picture of skippy on a horse clad in sombrero and poncho. Bad form, mom, bad form. (Hook)

Sara @ Our Best Bites said...

I used to hate flan too! Eating Brazilian style flan was the thing that changed my mind. Now I can't get enough of the stuff. I'll have to check out that recipe. Mmmm...now I'm craving some. Thanks! Thanks for your comment today too- gotta love yummy sugar cookies! And heck, I don't think it matters one bit whether they're "pretty" or not. Taste is WAY more important!

Nan said...

Victoria the chicken enchilada recipe was awesome...I made it last night with shrimp instead of chicken...thanks for sharing...