Como rayo de luz transparente
que ilumina mi oscuridad siempre
Like a ray of light, transparent
that illuminates my darkness, always
— Chichi Peralta, Sol de Verano
Six months ago my grandpa’s soul lifted up towards the heavens, leaving our world behind. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. It could be in the mornings, as I sip my coffee. Or at night when I’m about to go to sleep. A sense of sadness washes over me at first because I miss him so much but then this overwhelming feeling of love that’s so hard to explain in words, takes over and I feel totally at peace, my heart swollen with the most immense love.
Crema volteada is another grandpa original. He made this often, whenever we needed something a little sweet for lonche, Peruvian for afternoon tea, or for dessert. It’s amazingly delicious for such a simple recipe– it only has 4 ingredients total. The end result is a silky smooth flan that is just barely sweet, enough to satiate desires.
// Serves up 6-8 slices
1 – 12 ounce can evaporated milk
4 large eggs
1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grab a roasting pan big enough to house the round pie dish that you’ll be using for the crema volteada. You’ll be using it for the water bath. Put the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
Pour the 1 cup of sugar into a small sauce pot and set over medium heat to make the caramel. Swirl around to melt until the sugar has dissolved and turned amber-copper and starts to smoke slightly. When it is totally thinned out, immediately (but carefully!) pour caramel into glass pie dish, swirling it around so that it covers the entire bottom. Give your egg mixture another light whisk and then pour this directly over the caramel in the pie dish.
Put this into the roasting pan and then pour boiling hot water around the dish until it reaches about halfway up the sides. Bake for about an hour or until the middle looks almost set, it should still jiggle ever so slightly. Let this cool on a rack for about 10 minutes and then put it in the fridge to cool for at least 2-3 hours. When it’s chilled completely, run a knife around the edges and unmold it by placing a dish larger than the pie dish over it to invert. The crema volteada should plop right out with the caramel (note: some of the caramel will still be stuck to the dish, that’s fine). Cut into pretty slices and enjoy!