This one did not come easy my appetizing friends. My intention was to make a full-sized flan for the family to enjoy, but I really wanted to play with the look and styling of this Nutella one, so I pulled out some Pyrex ramekins and went to work. My process seldom changes unless I’m working with an ingredient that requires different attention. Like this. You probably melt your Nutella in the microwave. At least that’s what I’ve heard in the nutty circles. I double-boil mine. Truthfully, because I had an embarrassing live, on-camera experience melting some ganache. I almost burned the hosts’ hands! Oh but wait, pay back is a mother! I burned my hand today. My right one at that. Yeah, burned all the way. I was pouring the caramel into each ramekin and swirling to coat as fast as I could when I decided to save some of the drippings.
Said dollop drippings fell right onto my hand and scorched it. It took a good squeeze of my butt cheeks not to drop everything.
And so typing is not fun right now. I have a slice of tomato rubber-banded around it. It absorbs internal heat.
Thankfully, the three ramekins came out just like I needed them to: perfect, creamy, chocolatey and crunchy.
I’ve been wanting to make another Nutella flan since the espresso one I hooked up last year while in Asheville, but I was faithfully staying away from the jar. Like most Nutella luvah’s, I can sit at my desk and quietly eat it away. It feels so good while I’m in the moment, but the after-effect is so gluttonous and sinful that I’d have to walk/run 5 miles just to burn off 1/2 the calories. No matter, the thought of recreating it was jumping in my mind and more recently inspired by the reminiscence of a blistering cold night in Val de Loire, France where our friend’s neighbor invited us over for wine and roasted chestnuts. There was a trio of bowls filled with nuts. One of them had hazelnuts. And that particular one took me to my childhood. We used to crack hazelnuts every Christmas season and eat them in lieu of M & M’s.
I love when food does that. It has served its purpose at that very moment. It took me back somewhere very special.
So why the graham cracker? Well, my palate, much like my emotions goes through all kinds of roller coasters. Two things my eating experience requires: crunchy and sweet. They don’t have to be together, just at some point. There was little mixing up I could come up with today that would create two things I have to have. And plus, who’s not spread Nutella all over a graham cracker before? It’s easier and way tastier than putting a piece of hard milk chocolate on it to create a S’mores.
This flan was born out of those thoughts I come to every now and then. And also because at the moment I’m going through a phase in my life where I can forgo a hearty meal for a good, robust and refined piece of dark chocolate. I’m not comparing Nutella to renowned chocolates, after all there has been some negative hype regarding the clogging amount of bad oils it contains. Or how much of real hazelnut oil and essence is in the spread. I’m just sayin’. Chocolate has special movement in my world. It makes me really happy.
And Nutella is one of those things that can stand alone and cause joy.
After not sharing the recipe for the first Nutella flan I made, allow me to redeem myself with this one! From me to you, on this seasonal #FlanFriday, I’d love for you to enjoy this delicious, perfectly rounded and somewhat refined flavor.
It didn’t come easy, but it’s here!
Happy holidays and happy #FLANFRIDAYS
NUTELLA & GRAHAM CRACKER CARAMEL FLAN
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 14 oz. milk (2% or whole)
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup graham crackers, crumbled
- 2 tsp. flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Whisk eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add and combine sweetened condensed & milk, vanilla and salt. Set aside. Melt Nutella using a double boiler. Add and mix into egg and milk mixture. Blend well.
Add sugar to an 8" non-stick skillet and caramelize on medium-high heat until it is golden color, stirring constantly. Make sure not to burn sugar. When sugar is fully melted down, carefully coat each ramekin, covering all sides, using circular motion (I suggest using a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel). Move fast if using a brush. Set ramekins aside. In small bowl, combine graham cracker with flour. Add 1-2 tsp. of graham cracker to each ramekin. Pour egg mixture into each ramekin, filling it to the top of caramel. Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil.
Add 2 cups of water to a 4 or 6 qt. pressure cooker. Gently place up to 3 ramekin in cooker and close lid. Place jiggler on lid. If your pressure cooker jiggler has different PSI settings, set it to 10. Cook on high for 6 minutes, or until pressure cooker starts hissing. Turn off heat and allow all of the pressure to release itself, or for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from pressure cooker after all pressure is released. Repeat until all ramekins are filled. Refrigerate for 8-9 hours or overnight for best taste. Remove from refrigeration 30-45 minutes before serving to loosen some. To serve, using a butter knife, loosen the sides of the flan all the way around. Take a small serving plate, place upside down on top of flan and flip. Garnish each individual flan with extra graham cracker on top or using same butter knife, cover it with remaining caramel from ramekins, dip into graham cracker and gently spread around entire flan.
Yields 8 ramekins