Vanilla Flan

Today I’m going to provide my own recipe for Vanilla Flan.

You will need:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Spray a 9 inch stoneware casserole with non-stick cooking spray.

Overview.  This recipe is all about timing.  While the caramel is making, you boil the water and make the flan mixture.  Once the caramel is done, you immediately add it to the dish and immediately set the dish inside a 9×13 cake pan that is filled halfway with boiling water.  Then you add the flan mixture and bake.  I’ll outline the steps individually…

Make the Caramel.  Add the sugar to a small saucepan and add 1/4 cup water.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar becomes translucent.  Increase heat to medium high and do not stir.  Occasionally, brush the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water.  This prevents sugar crystals from forming.  When the sugar begins to caramelize, continue waiting until the caramel is a deep brown-red color.  This will take anywhere from 15-30 minutes.  Be patient and don’t be afraid of dark caramel but don’t get it too dark because it will be bitter / acrid.

Make the Flan.  While the caramel is making, put about 5 cups water to boil.  While the water is coming to a boil, mix together  the evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract until well blended.   Add the heavy cream and mix until it is incorporated.  This will be a soupy mix with visible bits of egg yolk.  Using a knife, split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla seeds.  Add them to the flan mixture, mixing well.

When the water is boiling, pour it into the 9×13 pan.

By now, your caramel should be getting done.  As soon as the caramel reaches the desired color, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it into your greased dish, coating the bottom and about 1″ of the sides.  Set this dish into a 9×13 pan that is halfway filled with boiling water.  The goal here is to not have the boiling water overflow out of the 9×13 pan.  Use caution.

Do a final stir on the flan mixture, then pour it on top of the caramel.  Be sure to use a scraper to get all of the vanilla seeds.  Carefully put the 9×13 pan into the oven.  Cook for about 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the flan comes out clean.  It will still be jiggly.

Let the flan cool, then put it in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.  When you are ready to serve the flan, invert the flan onto a large plate.  Don’t attempt to salvage the caramel that has turned to candy in the bottom…all you want is the liquid caramel.  The resulting flan should look like this after it is cut: