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I just baked 8 individual flans and want to know how to cool them. What is the best way to handle the cooling process so that I don't damage the flan and make it easy for them to extract?

I want to just put them all in fridge to set overnight (it's late in the night and making them took way too long). Currently, out of the oven they are too hot to handle and the hot water is hard to grab the ramekins. Can I leave them to cool the water bath for a bit, then transfer the ramekins over to a baking sheet? Do I need to cover them with foil in the fridge? What temperature should I wait for to move them to the fridge? Is there a reason to not put them straight in the fridge (ceramic ramekins). Does it affect the mixing or adhesion of the flan with the caramel if they go in the fridge too soon?

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    "Flan" means many things in different countries and languages. There's an implication that you're making a sort with custard and no pastry, but you might want to say exactly what you are doing
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 1 at 7:59

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I'd put ice in the water, or dip out the hot water (or suck it out with a baster) and replace with cool water (since the hot water will quickly melt the ice) to get things started cooling faster.

My general custard experience (not flan specific) would suggest putting in the fridge uncovered, or else you get a lot of condensation on the foil or other covering that makes a puddle on the custard. Can be covered once cooled, but don't cover when hot/cooling.

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    If the water bath is deep, a baster will take a long time, but you could start by syphoning. You could also start adding cold as the level gets low, rather than emptying fully. The flowing cold will get some heat out of the ramekins quickly. Admittedly plastic tube isn't a utensil in every kitchen, but it is in mine, from brewing.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 1 at 7:55
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    Another option is to prop the tray with one corner overhanging the sink, on a very slight tilt, so you can pour cold in the top and displace the hot to flow into the sink. It's useful to have trivets or heat-resistant mats made of something with plenty of friction, like cork.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 1 at 7:57

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