It's a dangerous thing that I routinely keep baking ingredients in my pantry, ready for any chocolate desire that might come up. Today I finally made a dessert that I've been planning to try for the better part of a year but just never got around to. It's a recipe I read about on the website of Chicago's famed chef of Mexican alta cocina, Rick Bayless. I'd never seen the final product, so it was difficult to picture what I was in for, but I'm glad I made the effort.
I'm a freak about my mise en place, the setup of all my ingredients ahead of time. I've made too many mistakes in the past trying to prepare each step as I go to know it doesn't work for me. So I measure out my vanilla, weigh my flour and sugar, and sift my ingredients before I start mixing. It's so much less stressful and I find it almost meditative, oddly enough. The chocoflan (also called impossible cake) is baked in three layers in a deep round pan and then flipped onto the serving plate after cooling. When the layers are poured in the pan the flan layer goes last but in the end it comes out on top. How, you say? I don't know, ask Alton Brown. That is why it is called impossible cake, I guess. It's impossible to know.
I poured the goat's milk caramel, purchased at the Mexican market, in the prepared pan first, topped it with the light-as-air chocolate cake batter and lastly gently poured the liquid vanilla flan mixture. Then I baked it in a bain marie (a chicken roasting pan filled partially with hot water, but bain marie sounds so much more chef-y!) and, after cooling, carefully flipped it onto the serving plate. I don't own nice serving platters so it sort of looks like it's being served in a hub cap, but that didn't detract (much) from the final presentation.
I ordered my guinea pigs--er, my parents--to come over to test it out and it was received with rave reviews. Now, to be fair, they usually rave about all of my cooking and baking. But this time I think they really meant it, because it really was spectacular. Gorgeous, creamy, light, and caramel-y. It didn't sit heavy in our stomachs like so often a dessert can do. I'm pretty sure this one will be making an appearance at the Easter table this year. So if you're part of my family and will be in Willmar this Easter, get ready. The amazing chocoflan is coming!