Thursday, November 21, 2013

Caramel custard or flan...

Caramel custard (creme caramel) or flan is my favorite for many reasons. This was the first dessert  that I learnt to make from my aunt while I was in high school. My aunt used to make it in a pressure cooker. Hand beaten egg and milk steamed inside the pressure cooker, sometimes chocolate was also added to it. We used to call it pudding.

I was confused what should it be called, "custard" or "pudding" or "flan". I found pudding is a term that can be used for any dessert, from Christmas pudding to rice pudding. Both custard and flan have the same ingredients i.e. milk, eggs and sugar. The basic difference in between these two is  that a plain custard do not have caramelized sugar as topping and  is usually cooked in a saucepan while caramel custard (creme caramel) or flan is a variation of custard with caramelized sugar as a coating and is usually cooked in a oven in a water bath. But again what's in a name? It will always taste good. The creamy texture of milk and flavor of caramelized sugar and vanilla makes caramel custard or flan  always a winner.

For me caramel custard or flan is a perfect dessert for any party. It needs very few ingredients and very easy to make. For a party we usually cook multiple dishes and most of them involves elaborate cooking process. When it comes to dessert we always look for something quick and easy. Caramel custard or flan is answer to it. To reduce preparation time I have used evaporated milk, so no need to reduce milk on stove-top, this saved me a lot of time and energy. And to bring a more creamier texture to the flan, I have used heavy cream. The basic ingredients mixed and baked in the oven, and while it is baking you can keep yourself busy with other things  for arranging the party. Caramelizing the sugar is the only thing needs your full attention in the whole process.

So here it is, melt in mouth, ever popular caramel custard or flan the easy way or as I say with the least effort.

Things needed to make Caramel Custard or Flan:

  • Evaporated milk: 1 cup
  • Heavy cream (fresh cream or double cream): 1 cup
  • Eggs: 3
  • Vanilla extract: 1.5 tsp
  • Sugar: 3/4 cup (or as per taste)
  • Sugar for caramel: 2/3 cup
  • Hot water as needed

Steps of making Caramel Custard or Flan:

1. Put a pot full of water to boil.

2. Pre-heat oven to 350F (175C).

3. In a non stick pan add the sugar for caramel and 2 tablespoon of water. Let it boil. Do not stir, if needed carefully rotate the pan. As the sugar change the color to golden, switch off heat. Very carefully pour the sugar syrup to the baking dish or individual ramekins, to coat the bottom. Set aside the baking dish or ramekins.

4. Beat eggs and evaporated milk with a hand whisk. You need not to beat it to form any bubbles. Just mix it well, so the milk and eggs are well incorporated.

5. Add vanilla extract and sugar, mix well. Taste the mixture and if needed add more sugar. Add heavy whipping cream (or fresh cream or double cream) and mix gently to a smooth mixture.

6. Strain the mixture through a strainer. Pour mixture into the caramel coated baking dish or ramekins. Place the baking dish or ramekins on a large baking tray. Put the baking tray in the preheated oven. Carefully pour the hot water in the baking tray upto an inch of depth. Bake for 40-60 min or till set. If you are using small individual ramekins, then it will take 40 min. If you are using a 9 inch round pan, then bake for 60 min.

7. Take out the baking tray from oven, let it cool down. Carefully invert the flan onto the serving plate, drizzle sugar syrup and enjoy. You can serve the caramel custard (or flan) either warm or cold.

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  1. Looks delicious ...I have one question can i use half n half in place of whipped cream?

  2. Delicious flan n loved the second click more!!!

  3. This is a excellent dessert and I'm going to try this very soon...

  4. Adorable pictures. I am sure it tastes amazing.
    Love flan, in fact my little one bothers me to make coconut flan every week.

    1. Asha, thanks, yes coconut flan is a great option for enjoying the sweetness vegan way.

  5. Beautiful caramel custard flan, Love it. I need to make one, It is due for long time.

  6. Wow.. I adore your photography, Chitrangada.. Amazing captures as always :)

  7. hhmmm yumm looking caramel custard.....adore our clicks...

  8. Can i use fresh cream instead of whipping cream and what could be the quantity

    1. Preetha whipping cream does not mean you need to whip the cream. Here in the US, the fresh heavy cream packs have that name 'heavy whipping cream', that's nothing but thick fresh cream. Use the fresh cream or double cream, whichever is handy to you. The quantity will be same, the texture may differ depending on the thickness of the cream.

    2. Thank you so much Chitrangada

  9. WOW, wonderful clicks! Love the custard/flan.

  10. What can I use instead of eggs if am trying to make veg flan

  11. What can I use instead of eggs as am trying to make a veggie flan

  12. How many people does this flan recipe serves if I make this in individual ramekins? Please let me know. I missed that information in your post.