So I’ll start by saying that there might be a slight fib in the five-minute flan claim. Like any flan, you will have to let your mug flan cool down before turning it out and serving.
I found that around 30 minutes in the freezer was enough to chill it to a room temp level – other sources say at least 1 hour in the fridge - longer is recommended if you want it to be cold and refreshing. It's a bit of a wait but the mug holds a lot of heat so takes a while to cool.
The method is pretty much as simple as mix, zap, mix, zap, chill, but there are a few things to watch out for. First, be careful to not burn the caramel, and second, once you cook the custard part don’t let it get to the point where it’s spitting everywhere for two reasons: one being that your microwave will be covered in custard and the other that it overcooks and will break apart when you flip it out.
Secondly, there have been reports of people's mugs cracking when they make this recipe. I've made it a few times now with no issues but just make sure you're using a sturdy, microwave-safe mug and not the delicate fine bone china. Also make sure the mug has no existing cracks or fractures in it, which can create a steam build up inside the ceramic and can cause it to shatter. A newer mug will be safer as general wear and dishwashing can cause cracks in old mugs you may not notice.
Also, just so you know, microwaving the flan will definitely create those pesky pockmarks at the edges of the flan but we’re not here for looks, just satis-flan-ction.
How to make microwave mug flan
Take a heatproof mug or ramekin, and place 2 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water in the bottom. Microwave on high for 60 seconds, then in 10-second bursts until the sugar caramelises.
Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Don’t worry if it hardens.
In a separate mug of the same size fill it halfway with milk, crack in 1 egg, add 2 tbsp of caster sugar and a little vanilla essence/paste. Stir well.
Pour this into your caramel mug and place back into the microwave for 60 seconds, then cook again in 30-second increments until the custard is set but not boiling.
Chill for half an hour in the freezer or at least 1 hour in the fridge.
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