I was sure this was going to be a faaaaabulous success, until I unmolded it, at which point I was sure it was a complete failure. As usual, reality fell somewhere in-between.
The flavour of this was really, really good, and I was quite satisfied with the texture. However, there is no getting around the fact that it is rather tender – that comes of replacing much of the milk in the original recipe with puréed peaches – and it will be tricky to unmold. Butter your baking pan well. Consider baking it in individual dishes and not unmolding it at all, if that’s a thing you can do. But do go ahead and make it, because it is delicious.
If you have not caramelized sugar before, this recipe is a good place to start. It’s aggravating enough to get that sugar to turn colour; you then normally have about 10 seconds to get it into the bottom of the baking pan and swirled to cover it. This avoids that last-moment terror, but gives you that rich caramel flavour.
You also don’t even need to make the flan; you could use this recipe to make a caramelized peach sauce for ice-cream or cake. When you add the peaches to the sugar have a couple tablespoons of butter standing by, and add it too. Carefully, carefully! Caramel burns are nasty. Simmer it until slightly thickened, and voilà, you have your sauce.
6 to 8 servings
30 minutes prep time for caramel and peaches
15 minutes prep time for flan
1 hour to bake, plus time to cool
Prepare the Peaches & Caramel:
6 medium-large ripe peaches
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Put a large pot of water on to boil; sufficient to cover the peaches. When it boils, drop them in for 1 minute. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water and peel them. Cut them from the pits, then chop them into dice. Set them aside in another bowl, with any accumulated juices.
Mix the water, sugar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed pot, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture up to a boil and boil, without stirring, until the mixture caramelizes by turning a medium-light brown. Watch it constantly and do not let it get too dark. It will happen very suddenly which is why you must watch. As soon as the mixture is a definite brown, add the peaches and all their juices – carefully! Don’t let it splatter. Mix well and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly now, until the peaches are quite soft. Let the mixture cool.
This can be done up to a day ahead.
Finish the Flan:
6 extra-large eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons sherry
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Measure out 1 cup of the caramelized peaches and their liquid (close to half of them) and keep it aside to serve over the finished flan as a sauce.
Put the remaining caramelized peaches and their liquid into a blender or food processor (blender preferred). Break in the eggs, and process on fairly low speed until well blended but not frothy. Add the almond extract, sherry, and milk. Process again.
Use the butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 10″ ring pan. Pour in the liquid flan mixture. Place the pan in a shallow tray of water and place it in the heated oven. Bake for 1 hour, until firm. Let cool completely before attempting to unmold.
Serve with the remaining caramelized peaches as a sauce.
Last year at this time I made Broiled Tomatoes au gratin.