Today we're making Puerto Rican Salted Coconut Flan; a twist on my mom's popular custard like dessert with a homemade caramel base.
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A simple but impressive 3 step dessert
Here at Salima's Kitchen, we love a good easy recipe. This Puerto Rican Salted Coconut Flan is about as easy as it gets.
In fact, it's so easy, it comes together in 3 simple steps:
- Make your caramel (2 ingredients, 15 minutes)
- Blend literally everything else in a blender (yes, a blender)
- Pour the mix over your caramel and bake in a water bath. Flip it and serve!
Making your caramel (you got this!)
If you've ever researched making caramel at home, you may have been spooked by all the complicated directions, degrees and instructions on cooking with candy thermometers.
But fear not, this Puerto Rican Salted Coconut Flan uses the easiest caramel recipe you will ever make. No thermometers or candy making degrees required.
What this caramel recipe does require is patience.
I promise you, like my mom and I, will think everything is "under control", get bored of staring at a pan of sugar and be tempted to walk away to do the dishes, text, or pour yourself a drink. Don't fall for this trap.
Dedicate 10-15 minutes to watching your sugar slowly melt. This dry method of caramel making is so simple, but does require 100% of your attention.
Pour your sugar into a dry pan over medium heat. Do not stir. Do not use any utensils. Resist the urge to mess with the heat. Just trust me.
Eventually your sugar will start to brown and bubble and liquify. This is what you want!
Once the sugar is 100% melted, pour it into your baking vessel. It's important to swirl the baking dish around to make sure the caramel is coating the bottom and all sides of the dish.
I chose to use individual sized baking dishes this time. My mom usually uses a round glass pyrex. Use whatever you like that's oven safe and have on hand.
To give your Puerto Rican Salted Coconut Flan that extra delicious sweet and salty balance, I like to sprinkle some flake salt over the caramel as it's hardening.
Caramel Sticking to the Pan?
Sometimes a thick layer of caramel will stick to the bottom of the pan, even after flipping the flan.
This can happen for a few reasons:
- Reason 1: The layer of caramel was too thick at the bottom of the baking dish, which means the caramel was too thick to melt all the way through
- Reason 2: The surface area of the baking dish was too small, making it difficult for the caramel to melt all the way through
Either way, you can melt the caramel that is stuck to the pan over low heat until it returns to a liquid form, and pour over the flan.
In the future, try using a baking dish with a wider surface area on the bottom, and/or making and using less of the caramel mixture.
Flan variations to explore
This Puerto Rican Salted Coconut Flan is a variation on the classic flan (usually made with evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk). Today we're swapping sweetened condensed milk for my favorite sweetened condensed coconut milk to give it a tropical flair.
That said, you can experiment with any of your favorite sweet flavors in this dessert.
I've seen cheese flan, guava flan, and flancho (cake based) flan.
You can play around and incorporating different tropical fruit flavors as you like, but this Puerto Rican Salted Coconut Flan is my new go to.
In other words, you can't go wrong with flan!