Glenn Lindgren: Tocinillo de Cielo is a distant cousin of flan. It is sometimes mistakenly called "Tocino del Cielo," which literally means "bacon from heaven."
Jorge Castillo:It doesn't look like bacon, it doesn't taste like bacon -- in fact, there's no bacon in it.
Raúl Musibay: So why people started calling it this, we'll never know.
Jorge Castillo:No matter what you call it, Tocinillo de Cielo is sweeter and lighter than flan, light on the tongue -- you'll find yourself tempted to inhale this stuff!
Sweeter and lighter than flan, light on the tongue.
INGREDIENTS:2 cups white sugar
For caramel:1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Use a soufflé or baking dish about five-cup capacity. You can also use individual ovenproof custard cups.
Heat 1 cup sugar in the bottom of a metallic pan at medium-high heat until it begins to melt. Stir constantly to prevent burning!
The sugar will turn to a thick syrup with a light brown color. Quickly remove from heat and pour into your flan dish or into each one of your individual custard cups. Tilt back and forth to cover the bottom and sides of the dish. The syrup will harden as it cools to form a thick shell. During the baking process, this shell magically transforms itself into a delicious dark caramel syrup.
Combine sugar with water in a three-quart sauce pan. Add the lemon peel and boil at high heat, stirring occasionally until the syrup reaches a temperature of 220° F. Remove from heat and let cool until warm. Remove lemon peel.
Beat egg yolks by hand with a whisk. Gradually add COOLED (slightly warm) syrup and vanilla. Blend to a smooth consistency, don't overwhip!.
After all of the ingredients are combined, place the mixture in the caramelized baking dish or individual custard cups.
Next, place the baking dish or custard cups in a water bath (Baño de Maria). Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour. To check for doneness, poke a toothpick or fork in it while baking; it should come out relatively clean.
After the tocinillo is fully cooked, set aside and let cool. Place in the refrigerator for about three hours.
When ready to serve, run a knife along the edge to loosen it. Place a serving platter over the bowl or pan and flip it quickly. Make sure to scrape as much caramel from the bowl onto the tocinillo (that's the best part).
You may also serve in the individual custard cups if you used them!
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