"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > General Cooking
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-24-2010, 11:48 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
Help-cooking emergency!

My wife and I are making flan for the first time. We are also making caramel for the first time. Using the recipe in ATK Family Baking Book, we are having trouble with the caramel. It doesn't brown like it's supposed to. We try to use the correct heat for the specified times, but the color never really turns. It also doesn't seem to thicken like it should. We went ahead and added the rest of the ingredients, but it obviously hasn't turned out like it should, so we don't feel like we can proceed.

What to do?

__________________

__________________
Ged is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2010, 11:59 PM   #2
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,390
Sounds like you have to get the sugar hotter and cook it longer. It will darken and thicken as it cooks.
__________________

__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 12:09 AM   #3
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
I'm thinking that we got the heat temps wrong. We made two attempts. The first time we went past the suggested times, trying to get the color and consistency right, but the glaze just hardened and crystallized. The second time, we pretty much went with the correct time and finished mixing all the ingredients, but it just turned out kind of milky.

Our 15 yr. old daughter volunteered to make this for her class tomorrow (I tried making this with her the first time, then had to call in reinforcements). I think we're gonna have to call it quits tonight for this recipe, but I still want have a go at it at some point. It looks good, and I hate to give up!
__________________
Ged is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 01:14 AM   #4
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2
HOT

I would say it needs to be hotter.
__________________
dadag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 11:28 AM   #5
Head Chef
 
Mimizkitchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,607
From my experience sugar takes a lot longer to turn color then is usually specified in recipies, but once it starts turning beware goes it goes to burnt very quickly...
__________________
A woman is like a tea bag, you never no how strong she is until you put her in hot water...
Mimizkitchen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: japan
Posts: 462
i'm not familiar with the recipe you're trying to use. perhaps you could post it.

however, traditional caramel for flan consists of only 2 ingredients: sugar & water. it's not particularly difficult, but you do need to be careful working with hot sugar. here's how to make it...

1 - start with 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in a pan. probably 2 cups of sugar & 1 cup of water will do it for a family-sized recipe of flan. however, this stuff doesn't go bad and is worth making a larger batch. next to a copper sugar pan, a thin-walled stainless steel is best, not a pan with a thick bottom or sides. towards the end of the cooking, a thick pan will hold too much heat and could cause you to burn the caramel.

2 - you can start of over fairly high heat, or you can take your time and do it over a medium heat. with a brush or a wet rag, carefully wash down the sides of the pan with water to ensure that there are no sugar crystals lingering around which could later cause the sugar to granulate.

3 - start some hot water going in a kettle or other pan and bring it to a simmer by the time the sugar starts to color.

4 - if you have a sugar thermometer, bring the temperature up to a hard-ball or soft-crack stage and then turn down the heat to a low heat. if you don't have a thermometer, you can check by dropping a bit from a spoon onto a saucer. it should be nearing the hardness of hard candy. actually, even if you just lift a spoon of it over the pan, long threads should be forming which will harden. at this point, make sure that the heat is low, as the sugar can go from clear to burnt within a very short time otherwise.

5 - from this point, i'll explain how someone with experience would proceed and then later explain how you can proceed with the utmost safety and still get a perfect product.

a - for your first time, i would suggest bringing the sugar to a nice light amber color. when it reaches the color you want, take it off the heat and carefully add a few tablespoons of boiling water. never add cold water to hot sugar, as it can just about explode in your face. with boiling water, it will still bubble a bit, but is safe as long as you don't have you face right in the pan. Gently stir it in with a long-handled wooden spoon, and then add a few more tablespoons of boiling water. for your first time, i would recommend bringing it to a consistency where, when you cool some on a saucer it's at about a soft- or hard-ball stage ( you can make a ball and it will hold its shape). this is useful for a number of uses. while still hot, add 1 or 2 tablespoons to the bottom of each custard cup, or line the bottom of the pan if you're baking the custard in a pyrex or ceramic baking pan.

b - safest way for first-timers (this will take rather a lot more time): when the sugar has passed the hard-crack stage and has turned about the color you want, immediately take the pan off the heat and place it so it sits in a few inches of cool water, taking care that no water gets into the pan itself. the purpose is to halt the cooking and reduce the temperature to somewhat below the boiling-point of water. then it is safe to add the boiling water and make it the consistency you want.

finally, don't worry too much about the final consistency you get. there's a lot of leeway. you don't want it to be liquid at room temperature, but anything between that and rock-hard is usable. if it's hard-stage, it will all turn to liquid after it's cooked in the flan as long as it's not too thick a layer. sometimes if the hard-stage caramel layer is too thick, some of it may remain undissolved. on the other hand, if it's actually liquid at room temperature, it will get mixed into the flan when you pour in the custard mix. (if you inadvertedly get in this situation, you can chill the cups or pan in the fridge until the caramel sets, and then add the custard mix)

any consistency between these two extremes can be stored for a long time at room temp, and then used by warming it up until it's easily spoonable and flattens out before setting.

warming some up with some cream will give you a nice caramel sauce for sundaes.


good luck and enjoy your flan
__________________
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
philso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 01:49 PM   #7
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
The recipe for caramel in our cookbook called for sugar and water to start, but also 1/8 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/8 tsp vanilla, and a cup of heavy cream at the end. I'll post it when I get home from work. Thanks, everyone!
__________________
Ged is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 02:10 PM   #8
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: japan
Posts: 462
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ged View Post
The recipe for caramel in our cookbook called for sugar and water to start, but also 1/8 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/8 tsp vanilla, and a cup of heavy cream at the end. I'll post it when I get home from work. Thanks, everyone!

classic caramel custard is baked or steamed as follows: a tablespoon of caramel is placed in the bottom of each individual cup. when fairly firm, the custard mix is added to within about a 1/2 inch of the top and then baked or steamed. when cooled, run your thumbnail or a pairing knife along the top edge of the custard on the side of the the cups just enough to break the seal where the custard is baked onto the cups. invert the cup over the saucer or bowl, and jiggle. the custards should fall beautifully onto the saucer along with the sauce.


it sounds as though your recipe may be for a sauce which is added after the custards are plated up.

__________________
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
philso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 02:53 PM   #9
Head Chef
 
Mimizkitchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,607
Yes Ged thats sounds like what I make when I want a big bowl of icecream, not a typical caramel for flan... But yummy none the less...
__________________
A woman is like a tea bag, you never no how strong she is until you put her in hot water...
Mimizkitchen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2010, 03:21 PM   #10
Executive Chef
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA,Florida
Posts: 3,834
My recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar - no water. I usually rinse out the heavy pan before I start and that is a bit of water. Cook it on medium heat and it WILL caramelize. It seems like it takes a while to do, but the minute you turn your head it will get too dark. When it gets to the right color I pour it into the dish I'm using for flan and proceed. It always comes out great.
__________________

__________________
Be an organ donor; give your heart to Jesus.
Exercise daily; walk with the Lord.
licia is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.