Five-Ingredient Flan

Flan, also know as crème caramel, is a creamy custard dessert topped with caramel commonly found in Mexico, Spain, and throughout Latin-America. As a fan of cheesy and creamy desserts, this one is by far one of my favorites, a delicate balance of sweet and creamy. Skip the pre-made flan stuffed in a plastic container and make your own simple, delicious flan at home with only 5 ingredients. Trust me, you’ll never look back.

Pro tip: traditionally flan is cooked in a flanera, a special tin with a locking lid. If you don’t have one, not to worry, you can remove the labeling from a cookie tin ( you know the one, usually it’s a sewing kit?) and place a heavier tray or pan on top during the cooking process. Springform pans are also an option, simply cover them tightly with tin foil.

Necessary Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

The above measurements should make a perfect flan for containers 5-8 inches in diameter.

Assembly Process

  1. Start by making your caramel. Pour your granulated sugar into a skillet over medium heat. Continually stir the sugar as it begins to brown and clumps to itself. Continue stirring until the sugar is melted completely into a golden-brown liquid. Once syrup-like, quickly remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the caramel into your pan, evenly coating the bottom. If you struggle to coat the bottom, shift the pan side to side to distribute it in an even layer. If the caramel cools before you can evenly distribute, not to worry; place your pan over your heat source briefly until malleable and redistribute.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and set the caramel-coated pan away from the heat to cool and harden at room temperature.
  4. In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, can of condensed milk, whole milk, and vanilla. Mix the ingredients until well combined, making sure not to overwork the mix – if you see a lot of air bubbles, stop.
  5. Pour your custard mix into your caramel-coated pan and cover the top of the pan with the lid (or aluminum foil) so that it fits tightly. 
  6. Place your flan tin in a larger baking dish that is oven safe and add enough water to the baking dish so that it reaches to about the halfway mark on your flan tin. Carefully place the dish in the oven so that the contents don’t shift, and bake for 1 hour and 10 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from dish from the oven and take off the lid to allow the flan to cool to remove temperature. If the custard is a bit wobbly still, that’s fine, as it will continue to firm from the heat of the water finishing off the cooking process.
  8. Once cooled to room temperature, cover again and refrigerate overnight. If you’re in a rush, allow 5 hours minimum to cool.
  9. To serve, remove the lid and slide a long, thin knife along the edges of the pan to loosen it from the tin. Place a plate on top of your tin, and very carefully grasp both the tin and plate before quickly flipping the tin over. Gently slide the tin up, and you should have a perfect flan, caramel side up; if it doesn’t come out, don’t panic, simply let the tin sit on the plate for several minutes before attempting to lift it up again, tapping the sides.

If you want to give your flan a special twist, you can add espresso or citrus zest to your custard mix. There are also variations on the caramel such as those made with panela, a rich unrefined cane sugar that provides a deep molasses-like flavor. This recipe, however, is best served as is, with extra caramel sauce, or with fresh fruit.

I hope y’all enjoy! 

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