Also known as Creme caramel or caramel custard, Flan is a decidedly Western European dish. Its name is French, but the dish most of us in America call flan comes from Spanish-speaking countries. Each region has its own twist on the dessert. For example, in Mexico and Puerto Rico, some add 8oz. cream cheese to the recipe, while Cubans sometimes add two egg whites and some cinnamon.
We’re sharing a fairly basic flan recipe, but feel free to experiment with variations of your own! This dessert can be served as a large pie and cut into slices, or baked as smaller, individual servings. It also holds shape, so feel free to experiment with different molds as well. Keep reading below for our favorite flan recipe…
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (about 1% or 2% fat)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large baking dish, and place a 9-inch cake pan in the center. (This helps keep your cake pan from sliding in the water bath.)
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, swirling the pan gently until the sugar has dissolved (about 3 minutes).
- Reduce to a simmer and cook, swirling the pan occasionally (but not actually stirring) until the mixture has caramelized and turned a deep mahogany (7 to 10 minutes).
- Slowly pour the caramel into the 9-inch cake pan. Let caramel cool until slightly hardened.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, whisk eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl until combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in the zest, vanilla extract, condensed milk, and low-fat milk.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan, then transfer the roasting pan with the cake pan inside to the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.
- Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the custard has just barely set and is no longer sloshy. You want the center of the custard to be 170 to 175 degrees. Don’t worry if the flan hasn’t entirely set, it will finish setting during cooling.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 2 hours.
- Wrap the cake pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the custard is completely chilled (between 2 hours and up to 24 hours).
- run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the custard, then invert a large serving platter over the top of the cake pan. Holding both the plate and pan, flip the custard over onto the platter. Drizzle any extra caramel sauce over the top of the flan and serve. (You may want to make extra caramel sauce for the flan, just repeat steps 3 and 4 of the recipe to create more).
Recipe adapted from El Boricua