Vanilla Banana Caramel Flans Recipe
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 very ripe banana (i used a small one)
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup half-and-half (mixture of one part milk to one part cream)
- 2 large eggs
- Yolk of 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Boiling water, for the baking dish
- PANS REQUIRED:
- Two 1-cup souffle dishes or ramekins
- 1 baking pan
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 deg F (160 deg C). Set aside a baking pan that will hold the souffle dishes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium-size mixing bowl, and set aside.
- Pour ⅓ cup of water into a small saucepan, add ½ cup of sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then boil, without stirring, until the color turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the color is a medium golden amber, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and spoon 11/2 tablespoons of the caramel into each souffle dish. Reserve the remaining in the saucepan. Set the souffle dishes aside.
- Peel the banana and slice it into the saucepan. Add the lemon juice and mash the banana, caramel and lemon juice together with a potato masher or a pastry blender. Add the half-and-half and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the banana is cooked, 1 minute. Then remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing down hard on the banana to extract as much pulp as possible. Scrap off the pulp clinging to the bottom of the sieve and add it to the custard mixture in the bowl.
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla into the custard mixture, and pour the mixture evenly over the caramel in the souffle dishes, dividing it evenly between them. Place the souffle dishes in the baking pan and pour boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dishes. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the flans until the centers are set, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven and carefully lift the souffle dishes from the pan with a metal spatula. Let the flans cool completely on a wire rack. Then cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, 6 hours or overnight.
- To serve, run a small sharp knife around the inside of the souffle dishes to loosen the flans. Cover a souffle dish with a dessert plate, and quickly invert the flans onto the plate. Pour the caramel mixture remaining in the souffle dish over the flan. Repeat with the second flan. Serve immediately.
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