With Thanksgiving coming up, I always face a unique challenge: my husband doesn’t really like turkey. In Mexico, they also don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so this was not a holiday he grew up with and had strong preferences about certain dishes like I did. (Except pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream, which is one of his favorites.)
When we got married, I knew that Thanksgiving was going to be somewhat of a tough sell for him to really enjoy a meal centered around turkey and so I began thinking of ways that I could modify our traditions a little to include some Mexican touches to the menu.
Every year, I try a few small modifications. For example, last year I made an extra turkey breast that I injected with tequila on the advice of chef Marcela Valladolid (she has a show on the Food Network—”Mexican Made Easy”—and now two cookbooks) when I met her during her visit to Chicago a few weeks before Thanksgiving. That tip got rave reviews at my dinner table and I think I’ll do it again this year. (You can check out The Other Side of The Tortilla for a warm winter margarita recipe adapted from Marcela that has also become a fast holiday favorite in my house.)
But one change that has gone over really well with the entire family is that alongside the pumpkin pie, I also serve pumpkin flan. Some years, the flan has even disappeared before the pie, with some relatives crossing forks over who gets the last bite.
You can make one large flan if you like, or if you want to change it up a bit, you could also make individual sized portions in small ceramic dishes or using a silicone cupcake mold (using a cookie sheet underneath for stability).
The best part is not just the taste of the pumpkin flan, but also how easy it is to make. You can put all the ingredients right into your blender and pour directly into the mold before baking!
- A Kenmore blender
- A baking mold for your flan, or individual sized dishes
- A 9×13 Pyrex baking dish, similar ceramic baking dish or a 9×13 cake pan
- Store-bought caramel sauce (preferably cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel)
- 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- 7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk (Lechera), about half a can
- 6 ounces of evaporated milk, about half a can
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 ounces of water
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Add all the ingredients except the caramel sauce to your blender. Puree until completely smooth.
Heat the caramel sauce in a small dish in the microwave for 10-15 seconds so it’s not so viscous, and spread a layer in the bottom of the dish or mold you intend to bake your flan in. Your caramel should not be any thicker than 1/4 of an inch. Let it cool for a few minutes before you move on.
Then, gently pour the contents of the blender over the caramel and only fill the mold or dish about three-quarters of the way full because upon baking, you don’t want the flan to rise and spill.
Put the flan mold or individual dishes inside of the 9×13 baking dish. Fill the baking dish with warm water until it’s about half-way full. This water bath will keep your flan moist.
Bake for about one hour or until you can insert a sharp knife into the flan and it comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and the water bath and set on a towel on the counter to cool. When it’s at almost room temperature, loosen the sides with a rubber spatula or a knife and invert the flan over a serving dish or individual dessert plates. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you plan to serve it, so it’s ready to go when you’re ready to serve dessert.
You can add a dollop of whipped cream on each serving if you like. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Yields three cups of flan (one big flan or 6 individual half-cup servings). Double the recipe to make two large flan or 12 individual half-cup servings.
- Do you make any special dishes for Thanksgiving to incorporate multicultural traditions or flavors?