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I've made pumpkin flan from the following recipe http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipes/mucho-gusto-latin-recipes/Pumpkin-Flan

I follow the instructions to a tee: "In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the sugar and pour 2/3 cup water around the perimeter. Using a wooden spoon, cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and cook until copper-colored, 1 to 2 minutes."

My sugar never browns like shown on the picture. It's a translucent off-white. I feel like there is too much water.

Is my pan just too small of a diameter? What is the diameter or volume for "medium saucepan"? Is it something else - like the recipe? When I put the sugar into the pie dish, it seems to be a really thick layer of sugar when usually it's a thin layer for flan, no?

Any advice is appreciated, thanks!

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The techniques used for getting sugar as brown as you wish have been discussed in a previously asked question. The time should be closer to half an hour than 5 minutes. –  papin Oct 11 '10 at 2:33

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

A medium saucepan would probably be in the 8-10 inch range.

Your sugar isn't colouring because the heat isn't high enough or it's high enough but not long enough. Just keep cooking, the change will happen. You can try less water but if you're not familiar with working with sugar, better to err on the side of caution; I do work with caramels a lot, and when I know I'm liable to get distracted by other things I have on the go I purposefully use more water than needed to give myself breathing room.

Are you using the correct size of dish as specified by the recipe? Some of the caramel will dissolve into the filling as you pour it in and as it cooks; I wouldn't worry about the thickness at this stage.

Beyond that, I would personally stay far, far away from anything done by RR. I don't criticise cooks lightly, and I generally try to cook some of their recipes before I'll pass judgement. The recipes of hers that I have tried, both from 30 minute meals and the website, are uniformly awful. Poorly written, ingredient quantities are off, and generally they just taste nasty.

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I put on a higher heat and longer time and sugar browned like a charm! Thanks! –  Rhea Nov 1 '10 at 16:45

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