When I was a kid, there were two desserts that my mother made religiously, her glorious rice pudding (with those whole cinnamon sticks that I loved to suck on) and her velvety, sticky-sweet flan. I remember the smell of caramel, her yelling once it burnt (“carajo!”) and using it anyway because it was too much of a hassle to start all over again.
And now I understand why every time she made it, it always tasted different.
Sugar is a tricky ingredient to work with, especially once melted.And in my house, there were no candy thermometers and the words “exact science” were never spoken. My mother’s philosophy was one of the senses, all about the smell, feel, look, and most importantly, the taste.
I took a risk and decided to make a sea salt caramel banana flan.A decadent custard with ripe sliced bananas (which surprised me by floating right to the top of the custard). I also added sea salt, which is traditionally omitted in the mostly one-note Dominican caramel flan.
Overall, I’m happy with my sea salt caramel banana flan. Even though it brings me back to the familiar, nostalgic desserts my mother used to make, this one’s mostly mine.