Smooth and sweet Classic Flan is a caramel custard treat! Also known as Crème Caramel it’s the perfect alchemy of eggs, cream, sugar, and a fragrant vanilla bean. It may seem a little involved to make but we break it down and you’ll see how easy it is to create a showy dessert for any occasion.
Flan originated during Roman times when chickens were first domesticated and kept for laying eggs. A surplus of eggs meant that new recipes were developing and out of the kitchen came a custard creation that was savory and known as flan. Flan survived invasions and emerged as a sweet dish with a rich history that is still served in many fine dining establishments and homes around the world.
Flan has a creamy, soft silky texture that pairs wonderfully with the rich golden caramel.
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Tips on making the Best Classic Flan
- Slowly warm the cream mixture over medium-low heat, be sure to stir gently with a wooden spoon. As soon as the steam begins to increase, remove the saucepan from the burner and let it steep for a full 30 minutes with the vanilla bean.
- When you combine the eggs and cream mixture (remove the vanilla bean), whisk gently to avoid adding air to the mixture. The fewer bubbles the creamier the flan!
- Don’t skip pouring the custard through a fine-mesh sieve, it’s a major part of creating a silky texture.
- Line the bottom of the 9×13 inch baking dish (which will be your Baine Marie Bath) with a heavy dish towel and then set your Ramekins or silicone mold on top of the towel in the baking dish.
- Watch your caramel as it cooks, don’t step away because it goes from a light amber color to burned in seconds! But you want that deep amber color for flavor. If you burn it even a little, trash it and start over! Watch the video and you’ll see how quickly it happens.
- Use HOT Tap Water when you fill the baking dish halfway up the sides of the molds after they have been filled with the custard.
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How to Make Classic Flan
Smooth and sweet Classic Flan is a caramel custard treat! Also known as Crème caramel it's the perfect alchemy of eggs, cream, sugar, and a sweet vanilla bean. It may seem a little involved to make but we break it down and you'll see just how easy it is to create a showy dessert for any occasion.
- 1 ¾ cups (420 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup whole milk, do not sub low fat-milk of any kind
- pinch Pink Himalayan Sea Salt or Kosher Sea Salt, finely ground
- 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise + deseeded
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
- 3 large eggs, organic Pete + Gerry's
- 2 large egg yolks, organic Pete + Gerry's
- 7 Tablespoons (105 grams) sugar
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F/175°C
Slice the vanilla bean down the center with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds to remove them...
Add the cream, milk, Pink Himalayan sea salt, vanilla bean, and vanilla bean seeds to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, over medium-low heat, after it starts steaming, remove the saucepan from the burner, set aside and steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Then increase the heat to high and cook without stirring until the syrup turns a deep amber color, swirling the pan if necessary. See VIDEO above for help with understanding what color you want your caramel. This process takes about 10 minutes but you must watch it like a hawk because it goes from golden to burned in seconds. If you burn it at all toss it and start again.
Quickly, but carefully spoon or pour the caramel into (6) 3/4-cup ramekins or silicone molds.
Using oven mitts immediately tilt each ramekin to coat sides. Set ramekins into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish that's been lined with a thick kitchen towel.
Add the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to a glass bowl....
whisk until just blended.
Remove the vanilla bean and gently whisk the cream mixture into the eggs, being careful not to overbeat the custard. You don't want to add air/foam, so use a gentle stroke.
Pour the custard through a fine-meshed sieve
Divide the custard evenly between the ramekins or silicone molds and then fill the 9x13 baking dish with hot tap water (not boiling) halfway up the molds to create a Baine Marie bath.
Bake in the preheated oven until gently set and golden about 40 minutes, transfer to a rack to cool for about 2 hours and then wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight.
Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the flan to loosen.
Place a plate on top of the mold and invert...
Shake gently to release the flan.
Serve with fresh berries and mint if desired (whipped cream is not a classic addition to flan by any means, BUT we had some leftover heavy cream and our guests thought it was magical)
- Prep time is approximate (as always) follow the steps you'll be right on target.
- Classic Flan can be made up to 2 days ahead of time!
- Store in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap up to 5 days.
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