Flan is a rich, creamy custard dessert that is widely popular in Spain. If you’ve ever wondered how to make it, you’ll want to try this recipe. It’s an undeniably decadent dessert that’s easy to make, and it’s soooooo good you’ll want a second — and maybe even a third — helping.
Flan is a Spanish dessert made of egg custard with a caramel topping. It reminds me of crème brûlée without the flame-hardened caramel topping. Instead, flan has a rich, soft caramel sauce.
If you’ve ever had flan, you know all about its creamy, rich goodness. If you haven’t had it, you’re in for a real treat. It’s one of my most favorite desserts, and easy to make with only a few basic ingredients — milk, eggs, and sugar. The result is quite impressive: rich, creamy, and so decadent it’ll blow you away.
The most challenging part of this recipe is making the caramel topping, which can easily burn if not stirred and watched like a hawk. The baking method also uses a water bath, which requires two pans: one large and one small.
The small pan is what you’ll use to make the flan itself. The larger pan will need to have high side walls and large enough for the smaller pan to fit inside. This is important to moderate the heat while baking and ensure that the flan cooks evenly.
- Flan comes in a variety of shapes using pans ranging from Bundt, round, square, and individual sizes. For this recipe, I use this 9-inch Round Cake Pan because it cooks evenly and fits well inside the second pan that I use for the water bath.
- For the water bath, I use this 11-inch Baking Sheet. It provides ample room for water and the cake pan.
- This is an ideal make ahead dessert, especially since it needs to cool in the fridge. You can make this up to two days in advance. Simply cover the pan tightly and refrigerate, and then turn it out of the pan when you’re ready to serve.
- Serve individual flan servings at parties and small gatherings. Instead of using a cake pan, use 9-ounce Oven Safe Ramekins. You’ll want to make your caramel in a cake pan, as directed, and then pour into the individual ramekins before adding the custard.
- If you’re a fan of the caramel topping and want more of it, it’s as simple as adding more sugar. Be careful, though. Too much sugar in the pan will burn easily. Consider caramelizing a double batch of sugar in two separate pans and then combining into one before adding the custard.
- Use almond or orange extract instead of vanilla for whole new exciting experience. They’re all so good.
- For a rich, creamy flan you’ll want to use whole milk vs. low fat, 2%, skim, or otherwise. When measuring, use the empty sweetened condensed milk can instead of a measuring cup. One less dish to wash – yay!
- Add an 8-ounce package of cream cheese to the egg mixture for a tangier, more cheesecake-like dessert. You’ll want to use cream cheese that’s softened to room temperature and use a mixer to blend everything together into a smooth consistency.
- Use canned coconut cream instead of sweetened condensed milk to make the Puerto Rican version of this dish called flan de coco. Garnish with toasted coconut — heavenly!
- Bring the flan to room temperature before turning it out of the pan. To turn it out, run a butter knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the flan from the edges. Place the serving plate upside down onto the pan and then invert the pan onto the plate. Carefully lift the pan off the custard. Be sure to let all the caramel sauce drip out of the pan an onto the flan.
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A heavenly slice of Rich and Creamy Spanish Flan is the perfect finish for this.