Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.
"We have a special character who works in the kitchen here named Francisco Delgado, and he writes most of the recipes for our Mexican offerings -- the salsas, guac, tamales, enchiladas, burritos, posole and more" -- says Barb. "When his beautiful mother passed away, I asked him for a recipe, and he gave me one of his favorites, a flan recipe that's a huge hit with everyone at the store -- and our customers."
Flan Napolitano ala Seňora Delgado
Equipment: flan mold and roasting pan
2 cups sugar 2 tablespoons water 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk 9 ounces cream cheese 9 ounces double crema cheese (Mascarpone is the Marczyk version) 10 eggs 2 tablespoons vanilla extract Pinch of salt
For the caramel:
1. Combine 1 cup sugar with the 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. 2. When the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan over the heat for 10 minutes, until it darkens to a honey-amber color. 3. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a flan mold, tilting it so the caramel evenly coats the sides and the bottom. Place the mold in a large roasting pan and set aside.
For the flan:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring a kettle full of water to a boil and keep it hot. You'll use this for a water bath.
2. Thoroughly combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream cheese, crema and vanilla in a saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, but don't allow it to come to a full boil. Remove from heat.
3. Cream together the eggs and remaining 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until thick and pale yellow in color. Gradually whisk the cream into the egg mixture, but be careful not to add it too quickly or the eggs will cook. Pour the custard into the caramel-coated flan mold.
3. Carefully pour the hot water from the kettle into a roasting pan so that it's about halfway up the mold's side. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, though it may take longer depending on the oven. If you notice during this time that the surface is starting to turn golden-brown but it's not fully cooked yet, cover it with foil so it doesn't burn. You may also periodically insert a knife into the center of the flan to check its consistency. When the knife come out clean, it's done; when the custard is just set and slightly jiggles, it's time to take it out.
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5. Let custard cool in the water bath. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
7. To serve, run a knife around the inside of the mold to loosen the flan. Place a serving plate over the mold and invert it to pop the flan out.