Flan (Creme Caramel)

Flan (Creme caramel)

Have you ever taken any shortcuts in cooking. I did that the first time I made flan (creme caramel). It came back to bite me (pathetic pun intended).

We all think we know what a good cook is supposed to do, and what they’re not supposed to do, but who doesn’t break the golden rules now and then? Here’s your chance to confess. I’ll boldly go where none of us have gone before by revealing my seven culinary sins. Not deadly, mind you – I haven’t killed anyone. Not yet, anyway.

Flan (Caramel cream)

So, confession time! Guaranteed to send the purists running for the hills:

  • Pancake mix – this is one I confess to with only a slight blush. I know that it’s quite easy – not to mention healthier and more cost-effective – to make it from scratch, but – life’s too short, so I buy the packet.
  • Especially when baking, eggs should be at room temperature, but I rarely plan sufficiently in advance to bring them out of the fridge in time. Good thing I rarely bake! And no matter what they say about refrigerating eggs, there is no way I will store eggs at room temperature in a tropical climate!

Flan (Caramel cream)

  • Stock cubes – a real purist’s no-no, but I use them. I do try to use the low-salt, MSG free variety though.
  • My pasta isn’t always al-dente. So sue me.
  • I sometimes cut lettuce with a knife in order to get that shredded effect. Lettuce is – apparently – supposed to be torn to bits by hand, not cut or sliced, but nobody’s perfect, certainly not me.
  • Measuring less than scientifically. Again, this is why it’s a good thing I don’t bake that often.
  • I slice and eat cakes while still piping hot, at least when my mother isn’t looking! Seriously though, who can resist?

Flan (Caramel cream)

Here are two rules I used to observe, but recently learned they were myths. Cooking wisdom dictates that one should never immerse mushrooms in water to wash them, because they will absorb it. Apparently this is not the case. The same goes for salting eggplant (US)/aubergine (UK). Lots of recipes instruct you to do this, apparently to draw out the bitterness, but many cooks will attest that it actually doesn’t make that much of a difference.

How about you? Which cooking rules do you admit to breaking?

Aunt Ilana
Flan Recipe (Dominican Creme Caramel)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Flan, inherited from the Spaniards, and common across Latin America, is one of the Dominican's favorite desserts. Learn how to make it with our recipe.
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1⅓ cups evaporated milk
  • 1⅓ cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
For caramel
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
To make the caramel.
  1. Mix sugar and water and cook in heavy saucepan over low heat until a thick, dark caramel syrup forms.
  2. Pour carefully into prepared baking pan and spread all over. Cool down until the caramel hardens.
For the flan
  1. Heat oven to 300 ºF (150ºC).
  2. Mix together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.
  3. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Sieve to get rid of undissolved egg parts.
  5. Pour carefully into baking pan, trying not to disturb the caramel layer.
  6. Bake in hot water bath (bain marie) in oven for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool down to room temperature
  8. Loosen edges of flan, place a serving plate on top of the mold (one which will retain the syrup) and invert.
  9. Chill before serving.
Notes
Flan is known as creme caramel in France and flan in Latin America. La Profesora, one of our forum regulars submitted the original recipe upon which we based this one.

Be very careful with hot caramel, it can cause serious injuries.
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{ 59 comments… add one }

  • PETE October 3, 2014, 8:33 PM

    I’M BY NO MEANS A CHEF OF ANY KIND. My father is Irish and a great cook no matter what he cooks. My mother, God rest her soul was Dominican and cook put any professional chef to shame. Mom was an international cook chef, whatever you call them, for her family. Mom passed last year and like many other moms, she was simply the finest a mother could b. Me, son of Mom Maria, I didnt pay much attention to her recipes but ate every damned dish she ever put in front of me and I miss her dearly. I have made Flan about 3 times in the past 2 months. 1st time sugar in pan tasted a very little over done, but edible. 2nd time it was magnificent. 3rd time I made a homemade recipe from Boriqua Kitchen off internet with creamcheese and after a day in fridge, the caramel that I left on the bottom and didn’t flip the flan over this time, became thick and almost creamy instead of liquid. THis 3rd recipe with the cream cheese was also heavenly. Tonight, I will make my flan exactly according to your instructions and I’ll let you know manana of my success or failure

  • Cynthia October 1, 2014, 7:09 PM

    Is there a recipe so I an make this in a 9X13 pan??

  • Diana May 26, 2014, 10:27 PM

    I made this flan yesterday and it turned out great. I did have one little problem though. I made the caramel and let it harden in the pan. When the flan was done and cooled I inverted it in a plate. Some of the caramel oozed over the flan, but some of it was still hardened on the pan. Why did this happen? Did i do something wrong?

    • Aunt Clara June 10, 2014, 1:21 PM

      Happens to me all the time. :)

      • Sergio Lora November 13, 2014, 4:52 PM

        Instead of the caramel sauce, I mix the milks and use that as a base before adding the egg. The addition of the eggs will curdle the custard but the base sauce will remain “deliciosa”

  • Tiffany March 4, 2014, 4:39 AM

    If your sugar isn’t turning brown try adding more sugar @Sarah you will be surprised with the results

  • Edita February 20, 2014, 2:00 PM

    Oh aunt Clara how do I adore your recipes I always make this flan my husband is dominican and his whole family tells me I make flan dominican style I do add a little but of cinnamon and nutmeg oh my does it ever enhance the taste gracias!

  • MAB November 25, 2013, 4:04 PM

    I just made this today and it turned out perfectly! The only thing I did different is the caramel (I only used sugar without the water and it turned out great!). I made it in a 8 inch aluminium cake pan and it turned out exactly like yours. So thank you for the recipe. But I have to ask: If I want to make a thicker or deeper creme caramel, should I double the ingredients? Should I use the same 8 inch pan? And should I use the same temperature to bake it in?

  • cheri martinrz September 15, 2013, 5:48 PM

    @paola the sugar wont carmelize and turn dark because u need turn the fire up higher not too high or can burn

  • Jose July 20, 2013, 5:54 PM

    Tia, I thought you had a recipe for a vegetarian empanadas with spinach and cream cheese, did you? Don’t see it anymore in your list of recipes.
    PS. Love your photography!

  • Lenis March 8, 2013, 2:32 PM

    Omg i have found the most awesome website ever! Was reading the comments for things going wrong with the syrup/caremel step and my sister taught me how to make this when i was like fifteen so have been making it for 12 yrs and what i do as i dont make it in separate ramekins or anything like that. I make the syrup in the pan im gonna do the flan in. I have a thin metal bowl with a lip its a weird comparison but kind of like what a dog bowl looks like and is made off. It can take the heat and doesnt burn never have a problem getting the color on the sugar and water and then i grab the really hot bowl off the stove and coat the sides a little bit not too high up and the i put the egg condensed milk and evaporated milk in there and i cover it tightly with foil. Also if you are dominican you have the giant rice pot all dominicans have and i fill it a little less then half way with water put the covered bowl in there and boil for an hour never fails EVER EVER!!! I have taught all my friends over the yrs how to make it and they impress everyone they make it for all the time and are sooooo surprised how easy it is to make!!!

  • Karina February 21, 2013, 2:00 AM

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I gave it a try today and must say that it’s been over 3 hours and its still not ready.

    I’m sure I followed each step carefully but just thought I’d share that it’s taking way over an hour.

    Can’t wait to get a taste.

    • Aunt Clara February 21, 2013, 2:22 AM

      What do you mean “not ready”?

      Perhaps your oven is not calibrated correctly, because there is no possible way it would take that long if made correctly, the recipe suggests one hour, but leaves some leeway (“or until…”), as I cannot account for everybody’s oven. Check the comments above, a lot of people had no trouble getting it right. An oven thermometer might be your next acquisition. :)

    • Aunt Clara February 21, 2013, 2:30 AM

      Another thing occurred to me: are you sure you measured the ingredients correctly? With a measuring cup?

      • Karina February 23, 2013, 1:21 AM

        Thank you so much for replying and your suggestions. I don’t understand what I did wrong, I followed step by step with exact measurements and my oven has always done well with other baking projects I’ve done before.

        Yet somehow, the flan still came out good. :) I made it for my husbands birthday upon his request and he enjoyed it. So, thank you.

        I’d like to give it another try but still questioning what I need to fix. Would hate to wait around that long again.

  • Alis January 26, 2013, 5:31 AM

    Hi, Aunt Clara I LOVE this website and it has helped me a lot… But I just tried making this and couldn’t even start the flan itself because the caramel was a complete disaster. After boiling for nearly two hours and still looking clear, the sugar crystalized and became hard and it stuck to the pot. I found out that it was because I stirred it and you are not supposed to. Please write that on the recipe so newbies like me won’t make the same mistake :) I will try to make it again tomorrow. Please keep up the amazing work!

  • Margaret Pauly December 31, 2012, 6:57 PM

    Love your site! Just wanted to share that when I lived in Santiago, my cook, Dulce, used to make an incredible flan on the stove top. She made it basically the same way you do but in a double boiler. Sometimes added rum or a bit of lime rind. She taught me to make it before I left. Always comes out great!

  • Jennifer December 9, 2012, 6:53 PM

    Hello,

    I made this today. The flavor is great, but the consistency of my flan wasn’t right. It was off by just a little… It came out a bit thicker. I used a darker coated pan, and it took a bit longer for me to cook in my oven.

    Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong? Or what I can do to improve the texture?

    I beat the yolks before adding it to the mixture to be sure it was nice and smooth…

    Thanks for the recipe! :)

  • stephanie December 1, 2012, 2:16 PM

    Second time making flan…. Lets see how it goes. My oven is too small so i remembered how my ex mother in law use to do the baino de maria…. Stove top! Might take 2 hrs but i have all the time.

  • sarah November 22, 2012, 1:42 PM

    My caramel won’t go dark no matter how long I boil. Please help!

  • Carmen October 27, 2012, 4:08 PM

    I dont know if i have gone crazy or what, but i remember this recipe being different one year ago. i made this flan many times last year n i thought i remember it being half cup water, half cup sugar. 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk and 1 1/2 cups condensed milk w 8 egg yolks.. was the recipe changed? Or have i gone crazy?

    • Aunt Clara October 28, 2012, 8:20 AM

      No, I am rewriting a lot of old recipes to make them clearer and easier to follow, but also because I want all the recipes to have the same amount of servings (6). The result in all cases is either the same or better.

  • Andrea October 9, 2012, 3:51 PM

    My mom is coming to visit me this weekend and I can not wait to make this for her as a surprise!

  • Paola September 8, 2012, 6:51 PM

    my caramel won’t go dark :( what could I be doing wrong?

    • Aunt Clara September 8, 2012, 8:58 PM

      It needs to boil more.

      • CARMEN December 3, 2012, 11:54 PM

        I recently starting making the caramel WITHOUT water. Just sugar. It thickens faster and has the DARK caramel color.

  • Diemari August 3, 2012, 4:08 PM

    Can regular milk be used instead of evaporated milk ?

  • melissa June 20, 2012, 2:15 PM

    How do you make a flan de limon is it the same way but you add lemon?

    • Aunt_Clara June 20, 2012, 2:38 PM

      I have never tried a lemon flan, or made it. Sorry.

  • ramona April 28, 2012, 1:14 AM

    te pido un favor me puedes decir la receta para hacer el chesillo

    • Aunt Clara April 28, 2012, 4:28 AM

      Ramona, tenemos muchísimas recetas, incluyendo esa. Te aconsejo siempre buscarlas primero (hay un buscador al tope de la columna derecha, o viendo el enlace de recetas de postres en el menú principal).

  • Luis M January 28, 2012, 8:50 PM

    Omg! I love flan! I'm trying to make it now, but when I started melting the sugar, it wouldn't melt! Then I added the water to the pot and it just became crystalyzed again! I don't think I'm doing it right…I just poured the liquidy stuff into the baking pan and poured the egg/milk mixture on top of it….it kind of just blended all together! Let's see how it comes out in an hour!

  • tracy January 22, 2012, 9:17 AM

    O man I think I butchered it. I used milk n condensed.vwill it b the syoame? Instead of can milk?

  • Natalie Odalis January 18, 2012, 11:09 AM

    I was wondering, which vanilla works best…clear or brown?

    • Aunt Clara January 18, 2012, 4:34 PM

      I prefer clear for the flan, but use what you have.

  • Jessie January 3, 2012, 8:23 AM

    Hi…I have been using this receipe for the past 2 years and it is my familys favorite!!! thank you. I was curious because i was just made aware of a FLAN CAKE??? I was wondering if you have tried this and if you were going to post a reciepe? Keep the postings coming they are very delicious and helpful. Happy New Year

  • Tom Rizzo December 23, 2011, 3:22 PM

    Hi Aunt Clara. I'm a bit confused about "prepared baking pan". What do you suggest we do to the pan? Thank you!

  • alicia November 28, 2011, 6:54 PM

    I've seen many different toppings so whats a classic dominican topping for the flan?

    • Milly December 8, 2011, 8:22 PM

      Try adding some cherrys, it can be out of a jar or fresh… i think the jar ones taste better on the flan. you can also add pineapple, or both!!

  • beautifulnena November 28, 2011, 3:03 PM

    im a bad cook but this this came out perrrfecto thank you sooooooooooooooo muchnow i can make this specail flan for my son eric anytime

    • Aunt Clara November 28, 2011, 3:25 PM

      I guess you are not so a bad cook after all. :)

  • ANA November 24, 2011, 7:25 AM

    This recipe saved my baker integrity. I was assign to make a flan for the thanksgiving dinner. I couldn't say no. But since I haven't bake deserts in long time, I was not sure were to start. Then I googled flan, and when I saw dominican flan my face brightten.

    Thank you soooooo much!

  • Vanessa Collado November 23, 2011, 4:38 AM

    Was just wondering if I wanted to make a larger amount would I just double each ingredient?

  • Bryan Hazlewood October 31, 2011, 8:54 AM

    I think that individual ceramic baking dishes work best!

  • La Poeta October 19, 2011, 7:33 PM

    Omg just made this and followed each step. My first flan ever came out PERFECT!!! Wish i can upload a picture. Its delicious!!!!

    • Aunt Clara October 19, 2011, 7:43 PM

      Send me one at aunt.clara at dominicancooking dot com and I will put it in our Facebook page.

  • Simone October 13, 2011, 5:00 AM

    Nevermind.

  • Simone October 13, 2011, 4:59 AM

    How many servings in this?

  • Jessica October 11, 2011, 8:14 AM

    So we are baking at 400?

  • Mixolidia August 22, 2011, 7:26 PM

    Hi Aunt Clara,

    What size baking pan should I use? Also, I'm only making half the recipe. I have 4 egg yolks left over from a tres leches I made yesterday. Also, can it be a glass or ceramic baking pan?

    Thanks

    • Aunt Clara August 23, 2011, 5:52 PM

      I use a 8" round one for this amount, it ends up a bit flat though, if you want it higher try a 6". Yes, it can be ceramic, I have never tried glass but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

  • Rhina July 28, 2011, 12:08 PM

    Hi, Aunt clara, can It be use brown sugar instead of white sugar?

  • Jurany April 20, 2011, 12:35 PM

    Does it matter what material the flan is baked and/or bain in? Is Glass perferred?

  • vianca de leon January 31, 2011, 5:59 PM

    It means to place the pan where u baking the flan in another pan with water, making sure water won't go in the flan pan..

  • Aunt Clara January 23, 2011, 10:52 AM

    The correct term would be "bain marie", o "baño maria" in Spanish.

  • Karla Garcia January 23, 2011, 4:48 AM

    What do you mean by bake in a hot water bath? Toy un poco confundida con eso.

    • Borris December 11, 2012, 2:29 PM

      if you get the flan wet you can ruin it, so you have to cook it in a hot water bath in the oven.