Friday, January 1, 2010

Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce and Caramel Flan

Wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy 2010!

It wasn't quite the New Years' Eve I was expecting. We had planned to attend a party at the home of very good friends. My cough and laryngitis resulting from the cold I've had for almost a week sadly prevented us from attending.

Luckily, the evening was not a total disaster. I had purchased some frozen crab claws just a week ago thinking they would make a nice appetizer for New Years' Day. Instead, they became our dinner New Years' Eve.

Years ago, when my husband and I would take trips to Chicago to see a play or go shopping, we would often have lunch or dinner at the Cape Cod room at the Drake Hotel. They served the best crab claws with a wonderful mustard sauce. A little internet research and I found a recipe that appealed to my warped taste buds. The crab claws and mustard sauce were a wonderful treat and I was actually able to taste them! Sometimes mustard does wonders for clearing sinuses!  October is the beginning of stone crab season which runs through May. If you’re not familiar with stone crabs, you might recognize their distinctive black tipped orange claws.

When we received the invitation to the New Years' Eve party, I had asked our hostess what I could contribute. She said a dessert would be greatly appreciated and a flan was suggested. I had all the ingredients already purchased when I knew I wouldn't be able to attend so I still made the dessert. My husband drove it to our friends' home and I made two extra small flans for us to enjoy that evening.

I had never made a flan before and found a delicious recipe in my copy of Baking by Dorie Greenspan. I have never been disappointed in any recipe I've tried from this cookbook so decided this was the one to use for my first attempt.

They were a creamy and delicious end to our quiet little New Years' Eve.

I'm sharing the recipe for the mustard sauce if you are lucky enough to find stone crab claws in your area.

Mustard Sauce for Crab Claws

Adapted from Coastal Living, January, 2003
Printable Recipe

Most of the stone crab claws you’ll find in markets have been previously frozen, unless you are lucky enough to live in an area where they are harvested. Once thawed, the claws should be eaten within 48 hours and not cracked until you are ready to eat them right away. To crack the claws you will need a lobster cracker or a small hammer and solid surface.

I halved this recipe for the two of us.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with stone crab claws.

Makes 1 3/4 cups.

If you would like to try making the flan, here is the recipe I used:

Flan with Caramel Topping

Adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
Printable Recipe

There is nothing more enjoyable than a rich, vanilla custard topped with a delightful caramel topping and sauce. This is a wonderful and easy recipe if you follow the directions exactly as written.

First center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a roasting pan (9x13) with 2 layers of paper toweling. Place an 8x2 metal cake pan in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel (this will prevent the caramel from hardening before you can spread it over the bottom of the cake pan). Fill a tea kettle or medium saucepan with water and place it on the stove to boil.

Caramel Topping

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 vanilla bean caviar (pod cut open lengthwise, seeds and soft insides used)

To make the caramel, stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small, heavy saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook until it takes on a dark amber-color, approximately 5 minutes, removing the pan from the heat immediately when it starts to smell smokey.

Remove the cake pan from the oven with oven mitts and pour the hot caramel into the pan, tilting the pan quickly to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom surface. Set the pan aside while making the flan.

To make the flan, place the cream and milk in a medium heavy pan over medium heat and heat to just to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a 2 quart bowl or glass measuring bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together for about a minute or two. Add the vanilla and vanilla bean caviar and mix to combine. Continue to whisk while adding about one-fourth of the hot liquid to the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so they won't curdle. Continuing to whisk constantly, slowing pour in the rest of the hot cream and milk. Skim the foam off the top with a large spoon.

Place the caramel-coated cake pan in the roasting pan and pour the custard mixture into the cake pan and carefully, slide it into the oven. Very carefully, pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake the flan for about 35-45 minutes, or until the top puffs up a little and starts to turn golden in spots. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean. Don't worry if the flan is still a bit jiggly.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the cake pan to a cooling rack. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the flan. Allow the flan to cool to room temperature, then cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When you are ready to serve the flan, run a knife around the sides of the cake pan once more. Using a rimmed serving platter large enough to hold the flan, turn the platter upside-down and place it on top of the cake pan. Flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan. The flan should slide out with the caramel sauce coating the custard.


  1. To me the crab claws would make the perfect New Years Eve dinner...and the flan looks delicious. Looks so light and the caramel sauce heavenly!

    Get well soon - you CAN'T cancel out babysitting that special little guy next week!

  2. Everything looks delicious. Sorry to hear you have been under the weather and couldn't celebrate with your friends. Get well, soon!

  3. Gosh they're photogenic those claws:)Oh you must have felt bad to not go out:( I hope you are better?

    The flan looks yummy too..

    Here's to your first full year as a nana Susan~ It will be lovely..A toast to u!

  4. Wow..everything looks great! Get well soon, happy new year!

  5. Susan, sorry to hear that you're still nursing a cold and its effects. ... But to me your evening not only doesn't sound like a disaster but with the dinner you prepared it sounds delightful.

    I love to click and enlarge you pictures and the detail on the crab claws is remarkable.

    Flan and crème brûlée are two of my favorite desserts. How kind of you to make them for your friend's party and for your husband to deliver them. I'm sure that it was delicious. You really can't go wrong with a D. Greenspan recipe.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  6. I'm sorry you're still sick! I hope you feel better soon. At least you made the best of a bad situation...the food looks amazing! Happy New Year!

  7. This is my first visit here and what a delightful blog! Everything looks delish adn thank you for sharing the recipes--I'll be back for sure!

  8. Happy New Year! I hope you are feeling like yourself again soon! Your dinner looked delightful and we love Flan here in the southwest... I don't make it tho. You have inspired me to try!

    Please visit my New Year give away if you get a chance!
    ~Here's to a wonderful New Year~
    ~Really Rainey~

  9. My father loved crab claws! I had them nearly everytime he came for dinner! Your photo brought back some lovely memories.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.
    Happy New Year to you and yours, Susan!

  10. Sorry you didn't make the party, Susan, but you ended up with a great looking NYE dinner. Fantastic! Your flan looks outrageous, it's a big favorite here!

    Hope you are feeling better!

  11. Susan~ I would have been more disappointed had I not been able to taste that crab! It is my all time favorite crustacean. I think your mustard sauce would make a great spread for my opened face (grilled) crab sandwiches.

    Sweet wishes,

  12. The crab would be a meal to me! Looks so good.

  13. I hope you're feeling better! The recipe for the crab claw dip sounds absolutely divine. I am going to try the flan--it's so elegant and comforting, all at once. And think of the Vit C in the sauce!

    Have a wonderfully foodie 2010!

  14. Happy new year to you we say in French "Bonne année, bonne santé!"

  15. Susan, I'm sorry that you were sick for New Years. Bummer. I'm glad you had the crab claws, though--not bad as a consolation meal! The sauce looks perfect for the flavor of the crab. Thanks for posting it.

    Feel better, ok?

  16. Susan, I just love coming and seeing your fantastic photography! Works of art these are :) I hope by now you are feeling much better!

  17. I hope you are feeling better!
    That was sweet of you to send the dessert over..literally and figuratively!
    Looks great!

  18. Susan, your photography is perfection even when you aren't feeling well! I just put claws on my list :-) The flan looks divine!

  19. So sweet of you to make the dessert for a party you can't even attend!

    The Mustard Sauce for the crab claws sound deliciuos!

  20. I hope you are feeling better! Quite a few people I know are battling the same bad cold.

    I love your crab claws presentation and the mustard sauce sounds wonderful!

    My daughter is a fan of flans ...that is a nice recipe to try!

    PS Your grandson is adorable--I see we both became grandmothers very close in time .. it has been wonderful hasn't it?

  21. Amazing that you can do a flan and crab claws when you are under the weather. Hope good health returns quickly!

  22. Susan, you are amazing... sick and you still made picture perfect food! Glad you are better now and it looks like New Year's Eve wasn't a total loss. Beatiful!

  23. Looks like a New Years meal fit for a king (and queen!). You did good on the flan. I used to make it quite often for my ex but haven't tried one in quite a while. When my parents were stationed in Spain in the 50s they lived at a hotel for several months...the dessert choices there and at most restaurants were simply..fruit or flan!


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