Latin Twist: Crema Volteada (or Peruvian Flan!)

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There were many desserts I enjoyed when I lived in Peru—from my absolute favorite melt-in-your-mouth alfajores  (shortbread sandwich cookies with a dulce de leche filling) to silky and flavorful cinnamon-spiced mazamorra (purple corn pudding).

Another one I often crave, is crema volteada, also known as Peruvian flan.

Here ‘s the Peruvian flan, just after the flip…and before I chilled and added blueberries!

Like flan, crema volteada is a dessert made with eggs, milk and sugar, with some slight ingredient variations. The name volteada , which means turned upside down, refers to how it’s served; it’s baked with the sugar coating on the bottom of the pan, and then flipped so that the cooked syrup becomes the topping.

I used this pan, which I found created the perfect serving circle! Here it is after just pouring in the burning-hot melted sugar.

This simple-to-prepare dessert is a crowd pleaser! I made Peruvian flan last night for my monthly neighborhood association meeting, and it was a huge it! As Susan, my dear friend and neighbor said, “It’s like a sweet cloud but not too sweet! This flan has the perfect balance!”

I think you just might agree! ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!

 

Latin Twist: Crema Volteada (or Peruvian Flan!)

Serving Size: About 8

Latin Twist: Crema Volteada  (or Peruvian Flan!)

This is how my Peruvian flan looked after just being on the table for 3 minutes! Okay, there was a crowd, but I was also serving platefuls of luscious brownies and blondies! Creamy and not overly sweet, Peruvian flan is sure to be a hit at your next soirée! Be sure to top it with blueberries or strawberries, for both color and fresh-fruit flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon excellent quality vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • Fresh blueberries or strawberries (or both!) for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the sugar over medium high heat, moving constantly until it melts and forms a liquid caramel. Note: be very careful not to let it burn because it will taste bitter—but be even more careful that it doesn’t burn you! (It looks like it’s quite lickable—but it will totally burn your tongue; let it cool before you try it!)
  3. When the sugar has become a smooth syrup, pour it into a 9-inch baking pan, and be sure to cover all the inner surfaces.
  4. If you are using orange zest (I didn’t do it last night—and it was just fine!) sprinkle it around atop the syrup now.
  5. Then, using a mixer, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. (I didn’t use the cinnamon—and again, it was fine!)
  6. Pour the mixture into the pan.
  7. Put the baking pan inside a larger pan that’s about two fingers deep with water.
  8. Bake for 1 hour. (You’ll see that the liquid egg mixture will become solid.)
  9. Let cool.
  10. When cool, run a knife gently around the borders and turn the flan over onto a bigger plate.
  11. Make sure you get the additional syrup to pour on top of your crema! (You can heat the remaining syrup over a low flame with a bit of water—and then pour that over the top.)
  12. Refrigerate and add fruit just before serving.
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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

2 Comments

  1. Elena, thanks for your question. Really I find more similarities than differences in trying and making different flans. But the Peruvian one I have differs from others I’ve made in terms texture and sweetness. For example, a Colombian recipe I had used whole milk and heavy cream (along with sweetened condensed milk) instead of the evaporated milk. That texture was a bit more pudding like (and less soufflée-ish) and the flavor a bit sweeter…it’s also fabulous, but just different. (Well, come to think of it, I really haven’t met a flan I didn’t like!) Hope this answers your question!

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