Flan de Leche
(Latin caramel custard)
- Sugar -- 1 cup
- Water -- 1/4 cup
- Eggs, beaten -- 4
- Sweetened, condensed milk -- 1 (14-ounce) can
- Whole milk or water -- 2 cups
- Vanilla -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Sugar -- 1/2 cup
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the 1 cup sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Place over medium heat and boil the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to turn a honey brown, around 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the caramelized sugar from heat and pour into a 9-inch cake pan or in equal amounts into each of 6 individual ramekins, swirling to coat the bottom. You may not need all the sugar. Place the cake pan or ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold them without touching.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, condensed milk, whole milk or water, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Pour into the cake pan or into each of the ramekins.
- Fill the baking pan with enough warm water to come about 2/3 of the way up sides of the containers. Place in the oven and cook until a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean, anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour. Do not overcook your flan or it may curdle.
- Remove the custard(s) from the water bath and chill well. Run a knife around the edges of the custard, invert over a serving dish and serve.
Flan de Leche Variations
- Flan de Café (Coffee flan): Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to the milk-egg mixture.
- Flan de Coco (Coconut flan): Substitute 2 cups of coconut milk for the sweetened condensed milk. Or simply stir 1/2 cup shredded coconut into the milk and egg mixture.
- Flan de Piña (Pineapple flan): Makes 4 servings. Caramelize the sugar and pour into containers as above. For the liquid, boil one cup of pineapple juice with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Allow the the juice to cool, then beat in 4 eggs until smooth. Pour into individual ramekins and proceed with the recipe. Popular in Puerto Rico.
- Pumpkin Flan: increase to 5 eggs and add 1 cup pureed pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
- The basic ratio for a custard is 1 egg to 1 cup liquid with sugar added to taste. The liquid used in most recipes varies widely and can be heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk or coconut milk. Mixing these liquids in different amounts is also common. Experiment to find the flavor and richness you like best.
- For a richer, thicker flan, substitute one of the eggs with two egg yolks.
- In Argentina, flan is often accompanied by dulce de leche.