Easy Flan Recipe

authentic flan berries best tips Caramel caramel sauce Churros Cinco de Mayo Cinnamon Common Questions. condensed milk creamy custard Eggs evaporated milk Flan freeze heavy cream heavy saucepan La Lechera Latin desserts make-ahead make-ahead dessert mangos Mexican dessert Mexican Flan milk prevent cracks ramekins Recipe refrigerate safety tips Spanish dessert Spanish Flan springform mold Step-by-Step Sugar sweetened condensed milk Tres Leches Cake vanilla vanilla extract variations Water Bath

Posted November 3, 2023 by: Admin #Kitchen

This Flan recipe features a sweet and creamy custard center crowned with a golden caramel drizzle as it gracefully slides off the pan. It’s a perfect make-ahead dessert, ideal for special occasions like Cinco de Mayo!

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We have a deep appreciation for Mexican-inspired desserts such as Churros and Tres Leches Cake. If you have a fondness for Latin desserts, this Flan recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Flan dessert served on a cake platter with berries

What is Flan?

Flan is a beloved Spanish dessert with various regional adaptations. It consists of a luscious custard made by blending eggs, milk, sugar (or condensed milk), and vanilla, baked in a water bath, similar to a Cheesecake.

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Flan comes in many variations. Some use sweetened condensed milk, while others prefer sugar for sweetness. Some recipes use evaporated milk, regular milk, or even cream cheese. Our version uses heavy cream for an irresistibly rich flavor. We learned this recipe from Epicurious and Cooks Illustrated.

Slice of flan on a plate with fork drizzled with caramel sauce

Ingredients

  • Condensed milk – adds sweetness to the flan. We recommend La Lechera brand for a more authentic dessert.
  • Evaporated milk – enhances the custard’s richness.
  • Heavy whipping cream – creates a creamy and indulgent custard base.
  • Vanilla extract – use a generous amount for a delightful vanilla flavor. You can also use high-quality Mexican vanilla for an authentic touch.
  • Eggs – contribute to thickening and setting the custard.
  • Salt – balances the flavors and sweetness.

Ingredients with eggs, milk, cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla

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How to Make Flan

  • Preparation – Ensure you have a 9″ x 2″ round cake pan ready since the caramel sets quickly. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and bring water to a boil.
  • Creating the Caramel – In a saucepan, combine water and sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer. Swirl the pan as it turns the color of cinnamon, and remove from heat, continuing to swirl for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the melted sugar into the cake pan and tilt it to coat the bottom.
  • Preparing the Custard – Blend the custard ingredients in a blender for 1 minute on low speed. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth to reduce bubbles and pour it over the caramel layer.
  • Cover the cake pan with foil and place it in a roasting pan. Add hot water to the roasting pan, filling it halfway up the cake pan’s sides.
  • Bake at 350 for 70-80 minutes, or until there’s a slight jiggle in the center. Remove, uncover, cool, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • To Serve – Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan, invert the cake onto a platter, and lift the pan gently.

Step by step guide on making caramel sauce for flan

Important Safety Tip: Be cautious with melted sugar to avoid burns. Do not touch it or taste it with your finger, and never lick the spatula. Also, be mindful that the cake pan gets hot when pouring the caramel.

How to bake a flan dessert in a water bath step by step photos

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Variations

Flan has various regional adaptations and delightful topping ideas:

  • Cinnamon – Add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the cream mixture and blend it in.
  • Mangos – Top the flan with sliced mangos, popular in the Philippines.
  • Berries – Since the dessert has built-in caramel sauce, garnish with berries like raspberries, strawberries, or mixed berries to balance the sweetness.

Common Questions

What is the difference between Mexican Flan and Spanish Flan?

Mexican flan is traditionally made with eggs, milk, cream, and sugar, while Spanish flan uses cream cheese instead of cream.

Can I make this in individual ramekins?

Individual portions can be challenging due to quickly swirling the hot sugar syrup into many ramekins. It’s easier to make flan in a single cake pan and slice it. However, you can use 6, 8-oz ramekins and bake for about 40-45 minutes.

Can I use a springform mold to make flan?

We do not recommend a springform mold, as it can lead to water leakage and batter spillage, potentially ruining your dessert.

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Flan dessert with a slice cut away

How to Prevent Cracks in Flan

Follow these tips for flawless flan:

  • Use a water bath for even heat distribution.
  • Avoid overcooking to prevent a rubbery texture.
  • Cool slowly to room temperature before refrigerating.
  • Chill completely for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Loosen the edges with a knife before unmolding.

Tips for the Best Flan

  • Use a heavy saucepan to prevent sugar burning.
  • Stay attentive when making caramel sauce to avoid burning.
  • Swirl, don’t stir the caramel sauce to prevent crystal formation.

Make-Ahead

Flan is an excellent make-ahead dessert for gatherings:

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  • Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap for up to 4 days.
  • Do not freeze, as the texture may change.

Slice of flan on a plate with a forkful

We hope this Flan Recipe becomes your go-to dessert for Cinco de Mayo celebrations or whenever the craving strikes.

  • Preparation – Preheat the oven to 350˚F and bring water to a boil for the water bath. Have a 9-inch by 2-inch round, non-stick cake pan ready for melted sugar.
  • Making the Caramel – In a medium heavy saucepan, stir together sugar and water until dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring, for about 3-5 minutes. Swirl frequently until it turns golden, then amber-colored.
  • Immediately pour the melted sugar into your round cake pan, tilting to spread the caramel over the bottom before it sets.
  • Making the Custard – In a blender, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, vanilla, eggs, and salt. Blend for 1 minute on low speed and strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth (optional).
  • Cover the cake pan with foil, ensuring it doesn’t touch the custard.
  • Creating the Water Bath – Place the cake pan inside a large roasting pan and set the roasting pan in the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan, filling it halfway up the cake pan’s sides.
  • Bake at 350 for 70-80 minutes, with a slight jiggle in the center when done. If too liquid, bake for another 10 minutes. Remove, cool, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • To Serve – Run a knife around the edges, invert the cake onto a platter, and gently lift the cake pan. Garnish with berries and extra caramel sauce.

 

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