Lately, I had been having trouble trying to stay afloat. I had so many projects land on my lap that I had to take a quick (baby) mental break because I was starting to feel overworked, drained and really uninspired. I’m not the type of person who does their “best work” under pressure, I like to take my time and do things at my own pace. I’m a perfectionist, which can be extra crippling at times especially when my OCD compulsions decide say “¡Hola!”. So I turned to retail therapy to help alleviate my stress, and to find some inspiration.
I didn’t own any Mexican cookbooks, so I bought a few of the ones a few friends recommended. One of the books I got was “Claudia’s Cocina, A Taste of Mexico” authored by Claudia Sandoval, winner of Master Chef Season 6! I was really excited to get my hands on this book because she takes great pride in her Mexican heritage and I was instantly sucked in when I read her introduction.
“I hope this book does a couple of things. I hope it reminds you that you should never be ashamed of where you come from, but rather celebrate every bit of who you are. I hope it encourages you to stop making excuses and push the boundaries of your fears and day-to-day life. And I hope that it inspires you to cook food that doesn’t always look pretty but that warms your soul.”
And I couldn’t stop relating to it.
For much of my childhood, I was made to feel ashamed of who I was and where I came from. For wearing the huaraches on my feet, for speaking a foreign language, and for being a little darker than everyone else. Now, I’m taking my culture back, and I’m owning it. I’m wearing my huaraches proudly, and I’m embracing mi piel de color cajeta–without making any apologies for it.
One of the first recipes I landed on when I first opened the book was a recipe that Claudia has for a Key Lime Flan and I don’t know that I could have landed on a better recipe because it is exactly what my soul needed! The flan itself is easy to make, and it was one of the dishes she made for her finale dinner. It’s sweet, a little tart from the key limes, and we’re topping it off with a tequila/triple sec whipped topping. I truly enjoyed reading the bits and pieces Claudia shared about her life and how she’s been able to connect with her culture through food. She’s the true definition of a Chingona, a total badass.
In the book she includes recipes for Mariscos estilo Mazatlán, basics like tortillas and frijoles de la olla, and staples like enchiladas, chile verde pork and huevos divorciados. If you’re interested in learning a little more about her, you can find her cookbook here.
Don’t forget to take a minute to treat yourself. Make some flan, and unwind away!
- For the Caramel:
- 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- For the Custard:
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 1½teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 8-inch round cake pan
- For the Topping:
- 4 oz crema mexicana (or sour cream)
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon tequila
- 1 tablespoon triple sec
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, for sprinkling on top of whipped topping
- Start by pre heating your oven to 275 degrees.
- To make the caramel:
- In a medium saucepan, bring 3 tablespoons of water and the lime juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the sugar to this mixture, and swirl to combine. Increase the heat to medium for about 5-7 minutes until this mixture is a light golden color, occasionally swirling the pan to distribute the caramel color.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour your caramel into an 8-inch round cake pan. Swirl the mixture around to make sure the bottom and the sides are evenly coated.
- To make the custard:
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the condensed milk and evaporated milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Mix in the vanilla and then remove fro the heat.
- In a medium sized bowl, beat your eggs. Temper your eggs by whisking your eggs vigorously and mixing in the milk mixture little by little. Strain your mixture, and mix in the lime juice and lime zest.
- Pour your mixture into your cake pan. Place your cake pan in a bigger shallow baking pan and fill the pan with water halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the outer rim of your custard stays firm and the center jiggles a bit.
- Remove the cake pan from the water bath and let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
- To make the whipped topping:
- Make your whipped topping once your flan is ready to be served. Start by beating the crema, heavy cream, sugar, tequila, triple sec, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until you get fairly stiff peaks.
- Unmold your flan by running a thin sharp knife along the edge of cake pan. Place a plate ontop of your flan and invert. Carefully lifting the cake pan to break the air seal and reveal the caramel.
- Serve with a dollop of the whipped topping, and garnish with lime zest.