For our Thanksgiving menus this year, we decided to call in some ringers—fantastic chefs from different corners of the country, with very different takes on American cuisine. We’re proud to share with you updated traditionalist recipes from Michael Anthony of New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, Latin-Jewish flavors from Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Michy’s, and the tricked-out hackers’ Thanksgiving from Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz of San Francisco’s Mission Street Food. Plus, special guest appearances from Nathan Myhrvold and the Modernist Cuisine team, in case your holidays won’t be complete without some carbonated cranberries. Special thanks to Fishs Eddy for the awesome props and Saipua for the stunning flowers. Enjoy! – Ed.
If your impression of flan is that it’s rubbery and tastes of hardly more than egg and sugar, this is the one to try. The ultra-smooth, pumpkin-spice custard needs only a deeply browned caramel sauce to end up a crust-free, delicate take on pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Caramel Flan
Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s
Makes two 9-inch flans or 16 individual ramekins
For the caramel
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
For the flan
14-ounces sweetened condensed milk
14 ounces whole milk
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces pumpkin puree
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small pan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium high heat without stirring until it turns dark golden brown. Pour directly into your pie plates or ramekins.
- Combine the flan ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain directly over the caramel into the pie plates or ramekins, filling it to the top.
- Put a towel on the bottom of a roasting pan (to keep the molds from sliding around) and place the flan molds on the towel. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes up about ½ the height of the pie plate or ramekins, being careful not to get any water into the flan. If baking large pies, bake for about an hour, until the flan is just set and jiggles a little when shaken delicately. If baking ramekins, bake for about 25-30 minutes—the center should still have a wobble.
- Cool completely at room temperature, then remove molds from the water and refrigerate until cold, about two hours. Run a sharp knife around the rim of the mold, place a plate on top of the mold and invert, giving a sharp shake.
- Whip cream to soft peaks, and serve flan with a dollop of whipped cream.