Cooking Challenge #1



Cale Patten

Welcome to the Cooking Challenge! I am the chef and host, Cale Patten, a junior at Knoch. The Cooking Challenge is a series where I will find a niche or difficult-to-make food and attempt to make it. For challenge #1 I have made: flan!

Flan (pronounced like lawn) is a Spanish dish that is typically eaten for dessert. Despite its origin, flan is also very popular in Mexico and many other countries that were occupied by Spain in the colonial era.

Flan is a custard dish, similar to crème brûlée. It has a creamy custard base topped with a caramel sauce that gets baked in an oven.

The ingredients are 1 cup of white sugar, 3 eggs, 14 oz. of sweetened condensed milk, 12 fl oz. of evaporated milk, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.

The first step was to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, which was easy enough. Then I had to melt the sugar in a saucepan until it was a golden brown, caramel-like color. It was tempting to use the new sugary liquid to make candy, but I had to focus on the topic at hand.  The melted sugar was poured into a round baking dish, and then I beat the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla. The egg mixture was then poured into the dish, covered with aluminum foil, and put in the oven. I let it bake for 60 minutes, and out came this…

It looked horrible! My family told me that it was not as bad as I was saying, but the picture speaks for itself. The sugar seemed to stick to the dish, even after I had let the dish rest in warm water for a few minutes and cool as the recipe suggested. Despite the atrocious look of the flan directly out of the dish, after cutting out the nice parts it looked much more presentable.

But above the looks is the taste. Flan is typically a semi sweet custard with a sweet sugar or caramel top, however my flan seemed to be a little sweeter than the usual dish. However it still tasted great. The texture was spot on, as was the amount of caramel that stayed on the custard. My dad, who often travels for work, told me he has had much worse flan at very nice restaurants.

The ratings:

Taste: 7/10. Was a little too sweet, but texture and overall taste were very nice.

Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate. I’ll admit I’m not a superstar baker but I have moderate experience and turned out fine. Fairly easy, but not as easy as chocolate chip cookies.

Overall, my first attempt at flan went fairly well; it’s fairly simple and tasted good. Plus, it’s perfect for everyone in the family. If you are interested, you can follow the recipe here: