Flan is the perfect way to subdue spicy food or any other hearty and flavorful meal. This rendition is topped with creamy caramel and chopped peanuts for an even more flavorful experience.
Unsalted butter (for greasing ramekins)
1 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 1⁄4 lb. granulated sugar
1 cup apple juice
3 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split
8 large eggs
4 egg yolks
6 oz. light brown sugar
1 1⁄4 cups creamy peanut butter
Fresh fruit (optional)
Chopped peanuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Lightly butter 12 individual ramekins and distribute peanuts evenly in the bottom.
2. Combine sugar and apple juice in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until caramel is deep golden brown. Divide evenly among ramekins, tilting to spread along bottom. Place ramekins in a 2-in. deep baking pan and set aside.
3. Combine milk, cream, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring just to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Steep for 30 min.
4. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
5. Uncover steeped milk and bring just to a boil. Temper egg and sugar mixture by whisking in a steady stream of approximately 1⁄3 of hot milk mixture. Whisk in the remaining hot milk.
6. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Pour into the peanut caramel-lined ramekins, filling to just below the rims. Pour warm water in the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30-40 min., or until custards are almost set, but still slightly soft in the center. Chill.
7. To serve, unmold ramekins by running a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the custard; invert onto the serving plate and give the ramekin a firm shake. If desired, garnish with fresh fruit and/or chopped peanuts.