Thursday, May 5, 2011

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

We're having Mexican food tonight in honor of this American celebration. Yep, American. Just did some research and a). it's not Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16) or b). widely celebrated in Mexico beyond the state of Puebla. It does commemorate the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when a small, poor Mexican army defeated invading French troops (who, a year later, took control of the country and declared Emperor Maximilian I, who was then later executed when the Mexicans took back their country; see the Manet painting here). Most interestingly, the Wikipedia article mentions how this little battle might have altered the course of the American Civil War, because if the French had taken Mexico then, they would probably have aided the Confederacy.

So, lots of reasons to celebrate. And to do so, I include a flan recipe given to me by a friend. However, this friend is Venezuelan, not Mexican, and it's not flan but quesillo. Still, similar and no doubt yummy. I have, however, taken this from because, in my current state, I can't get downstairs to get my handwritten copy of my friend's recipe (also the reason I haven't made it yet). But it is very similar. Oh, and she spelled it with a "k" for kuesillo. When I get her recipe, I'll make the adjustments--hers had the three kinds of milk, but fewer eggs and I think no vanilla.


Flan, or Quesillo a la Ana

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 6 -7 eggs
    • 1 (14 ounce) cans condensed milk
    • 1 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
    • 12 ounces low-fat milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over med. heat melt sugar in a cake pan or in a pot. You can add a tiny bit of water (1 Tablespoon or so) before sugar heats up to make it a little lighter.
  2. After sugar is melted it should be light brown. Don't let it get dark or burn. Take off the heat and if it's in the cake pan let it cool. If it's in a saucepan, pour it into the cake pan and let cover the bottom of the pan and harden a bit.
  3. Put the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blend for a few minutes. Then pour on top of the caramel mixture in the pan. Place the cake pan into a larger casserole or round glass dish and fill the larger pan with water until the water comes up to about halfway on outside of the cake pan. This is called a bain-marie or bano de maria in spanish. Place this into the oven and bake for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Place cake pan in refrigerator to cool for about 5 hours to overnight. If you're in a huge hurry you can also leave it in the bain-marie but dump the water and refill with cool water then add some ice cubes to this and place in refrigerator. If the ice cubes melt, add some more, removing a bit of water if necessary so as not to cause overflow. This could be ready in an hour or two if the ice is replenished often.
  5. Alternatively I'll sometimes do this in two loaf pans and place both into a large casserole dish. In that case, sprinkle enough sugar to coat the bottom of each pan lightly.

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