This pumpkin flan (flan de calabaza) is a fun Fall twist on the traditional Puerto Rican dessert. It has that signature custard filling with creamy pumpkin and is topped with a classic caramel sauce.
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If you love Puerto Rican recipes and baking with pumpkin, you will love this flan de calabaza, aka pumpkin flan.
It's a seasonal spin on one of the blog's most popular recipes to date, this Puerto Rican flan.
Here's everything you will need to make pumpkin flan:
For the Caramel
- white granulated sugar
For the Pumpkin Custard Filling
- evaporated milk
- canned pumpkin puree
- vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- white granulated sugar
See recipe card for quantities.
Make the caramel. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C / 177 degrees F. Pour sugar into a heavy bottomed pot and melt over medium low heat.
Hint: Shake the pan occasionally to prevent burning and ensure the sugar melts evenly.
Once all of the sugar crystals become liquid, pour the caramel in an oven safe baking dish or dishes. Move the pan around (being careful not to burn yourself) to create an even layer of caramel.
Make the pumpkin filling. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and blend until velvety smooth. Pour the mixture into the baking dish/dishes over the caramel.
Bake in a water bath. Add the baking dish/dishes to another larger baking dish with walls high enough to make a water bath. Bake for 60-80 minutes or until the center looks jiggly like jello, but not liquid.
Tip: the flan will continue to firm up the longer it cools out of the oven, so it's important to pull it out before it get's too firm. Jiggly is key!
Cool the pumpkin flan. Cool completely before using a knife to loosen the edges around the baking dish.
Grab a platter to serve and place it over the baking dish/dishes. Carefully flip the flan onto your platter, allowing caramel to drizzle over the top. Serve and enjoy!
Tips on Making the Caramel
Making the caramel is the 'hardest' part of this recipe, and I say that loosely.
It's one ingredient (sugar), that gets melted over medium low in a pot or pan. The trickiest part is having patience, because it should take at least 10 minutes for the sugar to start to turn to liquid.
While you wait, you can shake the pan and move it around carefully to keep the sugar melting evenly.
From there it's as easy as throwing everything for the filling in the blender and baking!
More Flan Variations
Giving the visitor ideas on how they can change this recipe to better suit their dinner guests, or their cultural cuisine, is a great way to increase the chances they make the recipe
- Traditional Flan - you can't go wrong with the classic, original flan.
- ChocoFlan - this 'impossible layered cake' stacks a layer of flan on top of a layer of chocolate cake.
- Salted Coconut Flan - sweetened condensed coconut milk is the magic ingredient that keeps giving in this recipe!
Try this vegan version of the classic flan on my website if you're looking for a plant based option!
More Puerto Rican Desserts
- Pastelillos de Guayaba
- Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding with Milk)
- Tembleque (Coconut Pudding)
- Quesitos (Cheese Pastries)
- Piragua (Shaved Ice)
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.
Here are the special tools you will need to make flan de calabaza:
- A pan to make the caramel. You can use whatever you have, just make sure to be careful when making it as it gets extremely hot and can burn you.
- Blender - you could probably get away with using a bowl and a whisk to mix the filling, but using a blender makes it lusciously smooth and consistent in a matter of seconds
- A baking dish or dishes to make the flan and a larger baking dish/pot to make the water bath
This pumpkin flan keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This recipe does not stand up well to freezing.