How to Make Flan with Vanilla Custard and Caramel Sauce

Caramel flan
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  • 01 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 1: Gather Ingredients for Flan and Caramelize the Sugar

    Carmelized sugar
    Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

    Here is a recipe for classic Spanish flan.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup sugar for caramel sauce
    • 2 cups whipping cream*
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/4 cup sugar for flan
    • 1/2 cup blanched almonds for garnish (optional)
    • Sprig of mint for garnish (optional)

    * To make a lower calorie flan, use 1 cup of low-fat milk and 1 cup of light whipping cream.

    This flan recipe makes six servings in ramekins.

    Wipe out the ramekins to ensure that there is no dust in them. Set in a large glass baking dish (such as a 9- by...MORE 13-inch pan).

    Heat 4 cups to 5 cups of water in a pot on the back burner for the water bath, or baño maria.

    Put a heavy-bottom skillet or saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of sugar. With the back of a wooden spoon, keep sugar moving constantly until sugar is completely melted, and of a rich medium brown color (caramelized), as shown in the photo. This will serve as the sauce.

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  • 02 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 2: Spoon Caramelized Sugar into Ramekins

    Making Flan - Spoon Caramelized Sugar into Ramekins (c)
    Making Flan - Spoon Caramelized Sugar into Ramekins. Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Carefully spoon caramelized sugar into each of the six ramekins or large dish.

    Pre-heat oven to 325​ F.

    Scald cream in a saucepan. (Keep a close eye on the pan, so the cream does not boil over.) Remove pan from ​the stove as soon as it boils.

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  • 03 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 3: Beat Eggs and Sugar

    Making Flan - Beat Eggs and Mix in Sugar (c)
    Making Flan - Beat Eggs and Mix in Sugar. Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.

    While heating cream, slightly beat three eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and stir.

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  • 04 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 4: Add Hot Cream to Egg Mixture

    Making Flan - Add Hot Cream to Egg Mixture
    Making Flan - Add Hot Cream to Egg Mixture. Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Stirring constantly, gradually add hot cream to egg mixture. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract.

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  • 05 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 5: Add Hot Water to Dish and Ladle Flan into Ramekins

    Making Flan - Ladle Hot Cream Mixture into Ramekins (c)
    Making Flan - Ladle Hot Cream Mixture into Ramekins. Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Carefully remove one or two ramekins to provide some extra room. Pour in hot water for water bath until water is about 1/2-inch deep in baking dish. Replace ramekins. (If using one large open baking dish, be sure that the dish is tall enough to accommodate the water necessary.)

    Ladle mixture into ramekins.

    Note: If the water level does not reach 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins, carefully pour more water in.

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  • 06 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 6: Bake in Water Bath for 50 to 60 Minutes

    Making Flan - Bake in Water Bath (c)
    Making Flan - Bake in Water Bath. Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Bake uncovered in water bath for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted halfway between center and the edge of dish.

    To ensure the custard does not over-cook, check doneness after 45 minutes, then every three to five minutes.

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  • 07 of 07

    How to Make Flan -- Step 7: Cool and Unmold to Serve

    Serve Flan Garnished with Almonds (c)
    Serve Flan Garnished with Almonds. Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.

    As soon as the dish is taken out of the oven, carefully remove each ramekin from the water bath. Set on a cooling rack until lukewarm, then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. This usually takes at least 1 hour.

    When ready to serve, unmold by running a knife around the inside edge of baking dish. Place a small dessert plate on the top of the ramekin. With one hand under the ramekin and the other on top of the place, turn over. Tap the ramekin and the flan should drop onto the plate. If it does...MORE not, carefully “prod” the flan out of the ramekin with a small paring knife. It should slide out of the ramekin onto the plate.

    Garnish with whole blanched almonds, a sprig of mint, or Berry Topping, if desired.