Today we’re making my mom’s Puerto Rican flan recipe. This classic dessert consists of a lusciously creamy custard filling topped with homemade caramel.
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A Puerto Rican Classic
Flan is a classic Puerto Rican dessert (also known as an egg custard to many) and is made with a milk and egg base.
Traditionally, this custard is poured over a caramelized sugar base, baked and flipped upside down to reveal a beautiful caramel topping.
It’s the perfect combination of light creamy custard and rich sweet caramel.
Here at Salima's Kitchen, we love an easy recipe and my mom’s Puerto Rican flan recipe is about as simple as it gets.
Heading to the store and need a list? I’ve got you covered!
To make this dish you will need:
For the caramel layer :
- White granulated sugar
For the filling:
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 5 eggs
- More white granulated sugar
Making the caramel (you’ve got this!)
Be very careful when making and pouring the caramel as it gets extremely hurt and can cause serious burns.
My mom and I usually grab a round glass pyrex dish or smaller ramekins (pictured above) for this recipe but you can use whatever you have on hand that's oven safe.
Making the Flan Filling & Baking
Create a water bath by placing your baking dish or dishes inside another, larger oven safe dish. Pour in warm water until it is nearly as tall as the flan, but not tall enough to overflow into it.
The water bath technique helps the custard to cook evenly.
What Not to Do
A few tips on things to watch out for:
- Don't overcook the caramel - it can develop a burnt flavor easily so it's important to cook over low heat and be patient so that it reaches a liquid form before burning.
- Be careful to not burn yourself with the hot caramel, it is extremely hot and can cause serious burns.
- Don't forget to let your flan cool and set, and loosen the edges with a knife before flipping.
Creme Brulee vs. Flan
For many Americans, flan is just the Spanish version of Creme Brulee.
While the two dishes have many similarities, flan does not have the hard brulee crust or require any special tools (like a torch) to make.
Additionally, flan involves the process of baking the custard on top of the caramel, then flipping it after it's cooked and cooled. Creme brulee involves baking the custard alone, then sprinkling with sugar and using a torch to caramelize as mentioned above.
The result is essentially the same, with the only difference being single servings of flan or one larger flan that can be cut into slices.
Just make sure whatever baking dish/es you use are oven safe up to 350 degrees Fareinheit.
Different variations to try
This version of flan is the most traditional in Puerto Rico and can be found at most panaderias (Puerto Rican or Spanish bakeries).
Many Latin cultures have their own versions of the traditional flan that will vary between countries. That said, there are also variations between flavors of flan.
That said, you can experiment with any of your favorite sweet flavors in this dessert.
In the end, you can't go wrong with flan.
And if you're interested in trying more Puerto Rican food & desserts, check out this collection of my favorite Puerto Rican recipes.