Flan is a popular creamy custard dessert in Spain and all over Latin America, and there are many versions of it. This particular rendition is prized for its simplicity, so if you’ve never made flan before, now is the time to try! You will need 6 custard dishes, ramekins, or other similar cookware for individual servings, plus a large baking pan that they all fit in comfortably. Like most custards, this version is baked in a baño maría ("bain marie" or water bath) because moist, indirect heat is required for the successful cooking of the dessert.
- 1 and 1/2 cup refined (white) sugar, divided
- 6 large eggs
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 13-ounce cans evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Pour 1 cup of the sugar in a warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir the sugar while it heats until it browns and turns into caramel -- that is, becomes a dark brown liquid.
Immediately pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each of the 6 custard dishes or ramekins, tilting the dish to so that the caramel swirls around on the inside. Work quickly, as the caramel will cool and harden almost as soon as it hits the dish. Reheat caramel in the pan if it thickens too much to work with.
In an electric mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together. Add all three cans of milk (1 condensed and 2 evaporated) and mix.
Slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend until smooth after each ingredient is added.
Pour your prepared mixture into the caramel-lined custard dishes or ramekins, distributing it equally.
Place the individual dishes in a large glass, ceramic, or metal baking pan. Pour hot water into the baking pan around the custard dishes to a depth of about 2 inches.
Bake your flan for 45 minutes in the water bath. Check with a knife just inserted just off-center into one of the servings; if the knife comes out clean, your flan is ready.
Remove the large baking dish from the oven and carefully take the individual dishes out of the hot water. Let cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for an hour or so. (Leave flan in the dishes they baked in until time to serve.)
To serve, invert each individual dish onto a small plate, allowing the flan to drop out and the caramel sauce to flow over the custard.
Edited by Robin Grose