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I nearly doubled a flan recipe and didn't cook it enough, and so now it's not set. It's been in my fridge for about 18 hours.

Do you think I can put it back in the oven for 20-30 minutes or so?

Original recipe was 45 minutes, I did 55, which I now realize was too short.

I guess it's edible now as a kind of gloopy pudding. If I can't recook, any ideas on what I could do with it?

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What do you mean by "gloopy pudding"? Can you cut it, even if the shape softens, or do you have to eat it with a spoon? Are you sure that the original recipe makes a firm flan (sometimes it is a bad recipe)? Does it contain any acid? Does it contain flour or starch? –  rumtscho Mar 4 at 15:23
    
No flour, starch or acid. I've made it before, but this time messed up time, because I wanted it bigger. Must be eaten with a spoon and parts are creamy. It does have a little shape. –  Lou Franco Mar 4 at 17:15
    
Generally, you shouldn't double a flan's volume, as the needed time and oven temperarture will change nonlinearly. You can remove the time from the equation by baking for internal temperature instead, but if the oven temp is too high, the sides may curdle while the middle is still too wet. If you need more flan, bake two flans sequentially. You can make the mix at once, but bake it in two batches. You can try a thick one too, but it is a risk. –  rumtscho Mar 4 at 18:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I haven't tried that, but in theory, a standard custard should be capable of rebaking. However, it will be a tricky matter, much trickier than the first baking.

For example, the temperature at which certain proteins in the egg coagulate depends on the speed at which the egg is heated. As a side effect, it is much harder to get a good custard starting with fridge-cold eggs than with room-warm eggs. Bringing the flan to room temperature first would not be safe (and no, reheating won't make it safe again). Second, they undergo changes not only during heating, but also during the subsequent cooling, and this may interfere a bit (I am conjecturing here - maybe it won't cause problems, but it is possible that it will). As a result, you will have a much narrower window between not-yet-ready and curdled. If the recipe contains acid, it will be even more problematic. High sugar levels will alleviate the problem a bit. What is even worse is that we are talking oven custard here, where you have much less control than on stovetop.

If I were in your situation, I would consider the experiment worth doing. I would be extra careful (water bath and bake by temperature, probably aiming at 83 celsius, less if the custard is thick). If you are inexperienced with custards and don't have a thermometer, it may not be worth the risk for you, after all a semiliquid custard is tastier than a curdled custard. But if you do it, don't forget to tell us how it went, as I am curious.

The above assumes a pure custard (egg yolk, dairy, sugar, taste modifiers or fillers). If you also used starch or flour, then it is too late to save it. This type of custard needs to be heated to very high temperatures (above 96 celsius) before an enzyme in the egg yolk converts the starch to goo. No sense in rebaking, but it can be reused.

If you decide not to rebake, there are countless applications for a thick-but-not-firm custard. If you don't want to consume it pure (and this is a viable option - sometimes it is made on purpose, as in vla), use it as a substitute in any recipe calling for creme angalise. You can dilute it with small amounts of cream if the recipe needs a more pourable consistency. If you decide to dilute, do it in small steps. You can also use it instead of creme patisserie, but without dilution.

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I have a pure custard, with no acid. I have a thermometer. To clarify, you are suggesting rebaking the cold flan in a bath until a thermometer reads 83C. –  Lou Franco Mar 4 at 17:12
    
@LouFranco yes, that's what I'd do. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the flan. –  rumtscho Mar 4 at 18:34
    
Thanks. Trying it now. Will update –  Lou Franco Mar 4 at 18:54
2  
Worked perfectly -- thanks @rumtscho. It took about 1.5 hrs to get the temperature to 83, so good thing you suggested cooking to an internal temp, because I would never have cooked it that long otherwise. –  Lou Franco Mar 6 at 2:11

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