How To Make Homemade Flan

Learning how to make homemade flan for dessert is much easier than it may seem.  For anyone who has ever enjoyed the creamy, custard like dessert, it may seem that the elegant dish is complicated.  With a great recipe and attention to the details, a perfect flan is possible for even a beginner in the kitchen. 

Ingredients for a Homemade Flan

  • 1 ½ cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz)
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons quality vanilla extract

Optional ingredient substitutions

  • Brandy, almond, or rum extract may be substituted for the vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of pulp free orange juice may be substituted for an equal portion of the whole milk

Instructions for making a Homemade Flan

  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Make caramelized sugar. Add the sugar and water to a small nonstick saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium heat, swirling the melting sugar occasionally as it melts to prevent burning. Once the sugar begins to brown, lift the up four to six inches and hold over the burner and continue to swirl and heat the sugar until it becomes a dark, golden brown.  Removing the saucepan from the direct heat will help you prevent the sugar from burning.
  3. Create your topping.  The caramelized sugar becomes the top layer of the flan when it is finished and presented.  To create this effect, quickly pour the caramelized sugar into a 1½ quart casserole dish and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.   You must be quick with this step or your caramelized sugar will harden before you are able to get it smoothly covering the bottom of the casserole dish.
  4. Make the filling.  In a large mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, cream, milk, eggs and vanilla—or the substitutions of your choice. Beat on high with a hand mixer for one minute. Pour the custard filling over the caramelized sugar in the casserole dish.
  5. Create a water bath. To allow the custard to cook evening, the casserole dish must be placed in a water bath.  To do this, put the filled casserole dish into a larger pan and add one inch of hot water to the outer pan surrounding the flan dish.
  6. Bake. Bake for fifty to sixty minutes, or until set. A knife inserted to the center should come out clean when cooked through. If you discover that the flan is taking much longer to set, cover with a piece of tented aluminum foil to help it cook through.
  7. Cool. Once the pans are removed from the oven, carefully remove the dish from the water bath immediately to stop the cooking process. Chill the flan before removing it from the baking dish.
  8. Remove and serve. Remove by gently sliding a thin knife around the edges to loosen it from the sides of the dish. It’s easiest to remove the flan directly to the serving platter. Choose a platter similar in shape, but slightly larger than your casserole dish.  Invert over the serving platter and gently tap the bottom of the dish. Once the flan is removed, spoon out any caramel topping that remains. There will likely be some hard, burnt sugar in bottom of the baking dish. Simply leave it behind. Slice into pieces and serve chilled.
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