Believe it or not, you can use your slow cooker not only to make dulce de leche from canned condensed milk, but you can use your slow cooker as a bain marie and make a very lovely dulce de leche flan with minimum effort. I have no photos to show you how to make dulce de leche in the slow cooker, but it’s very easy to do. Take the labels off 1-3 cans of condensed milk (I used low fat), place the cans in your slow cooker ( mine is an oval 6.5 quart electric slow cooker with a ceramic insert); pour water to cover by at least an inch, then cook on high for 8-10 hours. Turn off your slow cooker and let the cans cool in the water. Refrigerate unopened indefinitely. Once opened, either use or transfer to a container, refrigerate and use within a few days. Here are a few links with photos to show the process.A Year of Slow Cooking, The Kitchn, and Serious Eats.
In order to properly prepare the dulce de leche flan in a slow cooker, you need a mold that will fit in the cooker and something to raise it off the bottom of the slow cooker. Since my slow cooker is an oval one, a 6 cup oval mold worked great and to raise it off the bottom I used three English muffin rings. Chopsticks are an option or anything you may have in your kitchen that will serve this purpose. I have heard of mason jar rings being used, but sometimes rust may form and mar your cooker insert.
English Muffin Rings
This is a truly decadent flan, beautifully dark and rich, almost like pumpkin pie filling and I can imagine this same filling poured in a pie shell and baked. The caramel topping made ahead and poured into the bottom of the mold before baking drizzles down the sides of the flan and creates a lovely sauce.
Dulce de Leche Flan
Original Recipe From “The Mexican Slow Cooker” by Deborah Schneider
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 (12 ounce ) can low fat evaporated milk
Prepared Dulce de Leche (1 14-ounce can) or store bought
4 ounces low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries, to serve
With the shortening, thoroughly grease a heatproof 6-cup mold that will fit in your 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Place a rack, chopsticks, or metal rings in the bottom of the slow cooker to prevent the mold from resting on the bottom.
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt. Swirl or stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is a dark golden brown, but not in danger of burning. Immediately pour the caramel in the bottom of the mold.
In a blender, combine eggs, low fat evaporated milk, the dulce de leche, cream cheese, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into the mold. Set the mold on the rack in the slow cooker. Very carefully, pour boiling water into the slow cooker insert until it comes halfway up the sides of the mold.
Lay a clean kitchen towel snugly across the top of the cooker and hold tightly into place with the lid. This keeps excess moisture from dripping onto the flan as it cooks.
Cook on high until just firm and a skewer inserted comes out clean. (The first time I made the flan, it took most of the 4 hours-the second flan was done in about 2 hours. I think my water was hotter with the second flan.) Remove the mold from the slow cooker and let cool on a rack, then chill, covered for several hours or overnight. Either serve from the mold or turn upside down on a plate. Serve cold with fresh berries and whipped cream.
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