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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Burnt Coffee Flan | Pan's Labyrinth #FoodnFlix

Burnt Coffee Flan | Pan's Labyrinth #FoodnFlix
Burnt Coffee Flan | Pan's Labyrinth #FoodnFlix
This month, the Food 'n Flix club is creating recipes inspired by the 2006 dark fairy tale, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. Set in post civil war Spain (5 years after its end), it's the story of Ofelia, a young girl who, along with her very pregnant mother, is preparing to move in with her new stepfather, the horrid Captain Vidal, at his military outpost.

As soon as Ofelia arrives, she encounters a faery and discovers a labyrinth set behind the house where they will be living. The faery introduces her to a faun, who tells her that she is the reincarnation of the Princess of the Underworld before giving her three tasks to complete if she wants to reclaim her title.

In the meantime, she's busy avoiding her cruel and vicious new stepfather, while trying to care for her mother who grows weaker by the moment with her pregnancy, and her unborn baby brother.
Burnt Coffee Flan | Pan's Labyrinth #FoodnFlix
Ofelia's "fantasy" world and the fascist-ruled real world are written in a manner that makes her transition from one to the other seamless. Sadly, neither world is less scary than the other, and at times it can be hard to watch. But it's so beautifully tragic and haunting, that it sticks with you.

Food is woven throughout most of the scenes, from the stark reality of military food stocks be sparsely distributed to the people and people hunting for their next meal, to a lavish spread at the table of the Pale Man, a part of Ofelia's second challenge.

I was tempted to make a rabbit stew inspired by one of the hardest scenes of the film to watch, but rabbit isn't the easiest or cheapest meat to find around these parts. And, to be honest, I haven't eaten or prepared rabbit in at least 13 years, and I don't know if anybody in my house but me would have eaten it.
Burnt Coffee Flan | Pan's Labyrinth #FoodnFlix
There was also a pretty symbolic fig tree in the film, and a fig dish would have been lovely. And the Pale Man's table that I mentioned earlier held so many beautifully molded desserts and jewel-hued fruits, as well as a large pineapple and cherry studded ham.

I pulled part of my inspiration from that table, since flan is a molded dessert in the form of a creamy custard. But I wanted to make sure to pull the darkness of Pan's Labyrinth into the recipe, and did that by using the reference that Captain Vidal makes to Mercedes early in the film about the coffee tasting burnt.
Burnt coffee scene from Pan's Labyrinth
I infused the flan's burnt sugar sauce (otherwise known as caramel) with coffee, as well as the custard itself. The results were dark and tempting, just like this film.

Want to know more about this film? Check out these 14 fun facts about Pan's Labyrinth from Mental Floss or listen to Fiction Kitchen Podcast's Pan's Labyrinth episode!

Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Katharina at Pretty Cake Machine with her pick, Pan's Labyrinth; submissions are due February 28, 2017.

Join us next month as we head into the kitchen with our host Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm with her pick, The Martian.

For inspiration, check out the Food 'n Flix website (click on any of the roundups listed to see what participants have been inspired to make by the movie choice), all of my past Food 'n Flix posts, or my Food 'n Flix Pinterest board!

yield: serves 4print recipe
Burnt Coffee Flan | Pan's Labyrinth #FoodnFlix

Burnt Coffee Flan

prep time: 4 hours and 15 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 5 hours
Coffee is infused into both the creamy custard base and the burnt sugar sauce (aka caramel) in this dreamy flan.


For the caramel:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
For the custard:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Put on a kettle of water to boil. Set 4 (8 ounce) ramekins inside of a 9"x13" baking pan.
Make the coffee burnt sugar sauce (caramel):
  1. Place sugar and instant coffee granules in a small saucepan over to melt the sugar, stirring and pressing down on the sugar chunks often with a large metal spoon, once it starts to melt. There will be chunks at first, but don't fret, they will melt down.
  2. As soon as your caramel sauce is smooth and fragrant (this could take up to 10 minutes, so have patience and don't walk away, because it can burn easily), remove from heat. Using that same large spoon (the size of a serving spoon in your silverware set), scoop 3 spoonfuls into the bottom of each ramekin; the bottoms should be coated completely, and the caramel should look just over 1/4-inch thick. The caramel sauce will harden as it sits - this is normal.
Make the custard:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the custard in the jar of a blender, cover, and blend until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Put it all together:
  1. Slowly and carefully pour the custard mixture into the ramekins, over the "set" caramel.
  2. burnt coffee caramel sauce with coffee custard
    filled ramekins
  3. Set the baking pan with the ramekins in it on the center rack of the hot oven. Very carefully pour the boiling water into the pan around the ramekins, taking care not to splash any water into the ramekins themselves; the water should come up the sides of the ramekins about 3/4 of the way.
  4. add boiling water to pan
  5. Close the oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until the flan is just set; if you touch one lightly in the center, it will still seem very jiggly and maybe stick slightly to your finger, but it should not be at all liquidy.
  6. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. You can let the ramekins sit in the water bath for 10 minutes, so that they are slightly easier to handle, then lift them out of the water and set on a wire rack and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  7. Cover each cooled flan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  8. When you're ready to serve, run a thin-bladed knife around the outside edges to release from ramekin. (You should be able to turn the ramekin in a back-and-forth motion, like turning the wheel of a car if the wheel was laying down horizontally, and the flan will easily move back and forth.) Invert a serving plate onto the ramekin and in one swift motion, with one hand holding the bottom of the plate and the other holding the ramekin, flip everything over so that the plate is now on the bottom. You should hear the flan plop onto the plate. Lift the ramekin off and allow the caramel syrup to fall down onto the top of the flan. Some will probably stick in the ramekin, you don't need that extra bit (just wash it off under hot water).
Created using The Recipes Generator

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