Recipe: Spanish Flan {and White Flags}

by Cate on May 15, 2012

Spanish Flan
The first time I made this recipe was almost five years ago.

In a post I titled “Sweets for My Sweetie.”

(It was clearly before I learned about SEO-friendly post titling methods…)

It was for The Ex’s birthday.

And this time?

Last night, when The Ex joined us for dinner.

Some things change, and some things stay the same.

Of course I no longer refer to him as my sweetie.  Natch.

‘Cause that would be weird.

But we certainly get along well enough to break bread.

And I think it’s important for the kids to see that.

Which was only reinforced by the fact that they were having a friendly debate about who got to sit next to him.

It hasn’t always been an easy road, and there are still times when he frustrates me.  But when it comes to waving the white flag and peaceful dinner conversations, we’ve got that.

I’m a firm believer that it’s not the situation, it’s how you handle it that makes all the difference, and divorce is no exception.  I did (and still do) everything I can to keep the kids out of any challenging or not-so-peaceful conversations, and to keep things as civil as possible.  In the three years since we split up, I only raised my voice once while they were within earshot (but not right near us), and it was in the very beginning.  And interestingly enough, it was the only time I ever raised my voice since I’ve known him, some 16 years.

There is sometimes tongue biting.  Or swallowing of words.  Or just plain choosing my battles.  But isn’t it that way with everything?  Or it is how it is with me.  And everything.  Whether it’s raising kids or dealing with ex-spouses, I’ve always been big on choosing your battles.  And the older (and wiser, I hope), I get, the less I want to engage.

I either try to rise above it.  Drift away from a toxic person or conversation.  Or just don’t engage.

I just don’t have time for the pettiness.  No one does.  Not while there are children to raise.

So.  Dinner.

I made this pork chop recipe.  Which I rarely do.  And the flan.  And these mini cheesecakes.

Because I know The Ex likes them.

And I sent the leftovers home with him.

Because that’s the kind of ex-wife I am.

Or the kind I try to be.

Hey.  I’m human.  I have my moments too.

Whether you are entertaining an ex-spouse or a current boyfriend, or you just had a really bad Tuesday and want to curl up with a Tivo’d episode of The Bachelorette, make the flan.

It’s stupid simple.  And good for everything.  And anything.

Beyond memories of desserts I used to make for The Ex, it also reminds me a bit of my childhood.  My mom used to make a slightly similar version.  Although since she’s French, we called it Creme Caramel.  Same beast, different spots.

French.  Spanish.  White flags.

All neatly wrapped up in one little dessert.

Eat up.

Spanish Flan
Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.


1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

Cate’s Notes: Only change I made was to poke holes in the aluminum foil and bake the dish in a water bath.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

patsy May 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I totally agree with what you said about it not being the situation, but how you handle it… if you can handle it with as much grace and peace as possible, then you’ve accomplished a great deal no matter what the situation is!


Joanne May 16, 2012 at 6:34 am

I’m definitely a big “choose your battles” person. I rarely fight…with anyone…because if it’s not a BIG thing, then I’m not going to bring it up. I’d rather argue when it really counts and it’s really important than over who took the garbage out last. I also agree wholeheartedly with Patsy’s comment…we all get put in rough situations every once in a while, but what makes us different and distinguishes us is how we handle them. You’re doing good. :)


paula May 16, 2012 at 8:16 am

The ex and I get along better now than we were married. A lot of people we know through kids activities think we’re still married. When we were married, I think people thought we were divorced LOL.

For some reason I have 2 or 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk in the cupboard. I’ll have to try this. I love flan.


Ramona May 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Flan is my favorite dessert. Looks fantastic.

Cate, I admire you. I’m very happy for your children that you and their Dad can still have a relationship after divorce.

Speaking from 1st hand knowledge (youngest step child was married this weekend), it’s a real strain when the ex’s don’t mesh.


Suzi May 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm

oh…this is one of my favorite recipes…I have recently learned to add cream cheese to it..almost identical recipe..only 2 more eggs and a block of philly cream cheese….OMG…it’s totally rich and we do it for holidays now…LOVE it.

I admire you very much for having a good relationship with the ex…the kids will thrive because of it….go Cate!
You would be someone I would want to be when I grow up if I wasnt already older than you ..HA!


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