This is the best simple and easy flan (or crème caramel) you'll ever taste! Recipe is easy to follow. Traditional, classic flan is incredibly smooth and creamy with a thin caramel sauce.
There is one dessert that I can almost never pass by. Actually, now that I write that out, there are a few I can't pass by.
Peanut butter pie. Flan or crème caramel. Cheesecake. If all three on on a dessert menu, I am really stuck.
I joined a group called The Secret Recipe Club after my friend Mary Tweeted something about it. The idea is that you are assigned a food blog every month and you make a recipe from it.
We really like to try new recipes and new foods, so I signed up.
This month, I was assigned Eliot's Eats (link no longer available), a site that focuses on eating whole foods that were grown or raised locally. After looking through a few pages of recipes, the one that spoke to me most was for custard.
The author explains that her grandmother used to give everyone custard when they were sick. I don't totally understand that tradition, as my mother always withheld milk and eggs when we were sick, but that's irrelevant. I love custard, so I knew this is the recipe we'd try.
I'd never attempted to make custard before, and I was excited.
I followed a link in the post and learned how to turn plain old custard into flan by boiling a cup of sugar and putting it into the dishes before the custard. Perfect!
Also, Eliot's recipe calls for scalded milk. I had absolutely no idea what scalded milk was or how to prepare it. I searched for it on Swagbucks, and I learned that you heat the milk up to 180°F, just until it begins to get a frothy layer of bubbles around the edge. The more I read about scalding milk, however, the more sources said that you only need to do it if you're using unpasteurized milk. I don't use unpasteurized milk, so I skipped the scalding step.
My flan came out very nicely.
How to make classic flan
- Boil a kettle of water. You will need this later.
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- Prepare the syrup. Add 1 cup of plain white sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Keep it boiling until it turns into a nicely browned caramel sauce. It will be thin, but it will definitely turn brown rather than the colorless sugar water.
- Prepare the ramekins. Divide the caramel sauce between 4 ramekins. Ramekins are individual-sized dishes that can be put in the oven. That link goes to the ones that I personally have. I like them because they are good to go from the oven to the fridge to the dishwasher, no problem. Swirl the caramel around so that it coats the bottom and halfway up the sides of the dishes.
- Prepare the custard. In a large mixing bowl, slowly beat milk and eggs together. Add the vanilla, remaining ½ cup of sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins. Sprinkle the caramel sauce in each ramekin with nutmeg then divide the custard mixture between the 4 dishes.
- Bake the flan. Fill a large baking dish ⅓ of the way with the water you boiled earlier. I use a 9x13. Set the custard cups into the hot water. It should go about ½ way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the flan at 350º for 40 minutes to one hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Refrigerate the flan until you are ready to serve. Flan is best served cold.
- To serve turn the flan out onto a small, shallow dish with a rim. The custard should have formed a thin layer on top and it should flow down the sides, making a puddle around the custard on the dish.
If you liked this flan recipe, you should check out my pumpkin flan recipe. It is very different but just as tasty!