This flan recipe has been made at home for as long as I can remember.
Flan, also known as caramel custard or caramel flan, is a traditional Spanish dessert my grandmother taught me how to make many years ago.
Grandma´s Flan Recipe
My grandmother used to make all kinds of flan recipes: with condensed milk, with coffee…. However, a flan recipe she almost always made was this traditional one made with eggs, milk and sugar.
Every summer, when I was a kid, I used to go with my siblings to our family house in the countryside. In that place surrounded by nature, I spent my happiest summers … and the food… mmmmm… that was good quality food.
We used to help our grandmother Margarita to collect eggs from the hen house. Our mission was to find as many as we could and give them to her. The feeling of finding eggs, especially the most hidden ones, was very similar to finding treasures. It was a lot of fun.
Imagine what delicious homemade flans came out of those fresh eggs!
What is Flan?
Flan is egg custard baked in water bath and topped with caramel sauce, and it is a very popular dessert in Spain. Also, it is very easy to make since you only need basic ingredients to prepare it. There are other delicious flan variations made with coffee, cream cheese, vanilla extract or with sweetened condensed milk.
The Origin of this Flan Recipe
Flan dates back to the time of the Roman Empire, when they started raising chickens and adding eggs into their recipes. In ancient Rome, Flan was a famous dessert made by combining eggs and fresh milk and sweetened with honey from various flowers. However, it was in the early Middle Ages in Spain when we began using the ingredients used in the original recipe today: eggs, milk and sugar.
The term flan first appeared in the 7th century. The word flan is derived from French flan, which is derived from Old French flaon, which is derived from Medieval Latin fladonem, which is derived from the Old High German flado, a type of flat cake. It quickly became popular in many countries, including Spain, with new variations emerging from the original recipe of eggs, milk, and sugar.
What Flan Mold Should I Use For This Recipe?
When there are more than 6 of us at the table, I use a large flan mold. However, I use 6 individual flaneras (flan ramekins) when making this easy flan recipe. It is critical that molds have no scratches, dents, and are completely clean and rust-free.
Authentic Spanish Flan Recipe
All current variations of flan derive from this classic recipe, which is made by mixing three basic ingredients: eggs, milk and sugar. The mixture is poured into caramelized molds and then prepared in a bain-marie. And that’s all you need to make this delicious classic custard dessert!
- Eggs: fresh and at room temperature.
- Milk: fresh and at room temperature.
- Sugar: granulated sugar.
It may seem simple to make, but keep in mind that if air bubbles appear in the texture of the flan, it is not well done. Don’t worry, I’ll explain a simple trick to prevent this from happening to you.
How to Make Spanish Flan
1. Preheat the oven to 356°F ( 180°C ).
2. In a saucepan, add two tablespoons of granulated sugar and a teaspoon of water over high heat. Do not stir it neither with wooden spoons nor metal spoons, just gently shake and tilt the saucepan until the sugar combines well and browns evenly.
3. As soon as it is golden brown, remove the caramel from the heat and pour it in 6 flan ramekins, tilting and turning each one to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Be very careful with the caramel because it burns a lot!
4. In a large mixing bowl, stir 6 eggs with a fork or a whisk on low speed. Tip: To achieve a soft silky flan texture without air bubbles, it is essential not to beat the mixture. When beating, air is incorporated into the mixture and, as a result, bubbles appear.
5. Add in 2⅓ cups of whole milk and 1¼ cup of granulated sugar. Keep stirring on low speed until well combined. Tip: This traditional Spanish flan recipe is made only with eggs, milk and sugar. If desired, you can add in a tablespoon of vanilla extract to enhance the flavor; however, that would be another version based on this original recipe.
6. Pour egg mixture into the previously caramelized flaneras. Tip: pass the mixture through a sieve to get rid of lumps and bubbles.
7. Now its time to bake the custard in water bath. Place the ramekins inside a glass baking dish and fill it with enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of the flaneras. Then, cover each one of them with aluminum foil. In case you use a large flan mold, cover it with the lid that comes with it. Tip: other way to prepare the bain-marie is by leaving the baking dish, filled with less than halfway up of water, in the oven when preheating.
8. Bake for 35 minutes. Make sure flans are done by pricking a needle. If it comes out stained, leave them a few more minutes. If it comes out clean, your flans are done.
9. Allow them to cool to room temperature for about ten minutes before putting them in the refrigerator. The chilling time is 3 hours.
10. Before serving, unmold them by first carefully running a knife around the edge of the ramekin. Then, place a plate on top and turn each flanera upside down. Et voilà... you have made a delicious flan that will take you back to your childhood!
More Traditional Custard Desserts
If you are fond of custard-type desserts, you can also try these delicious traditional custard recipes.
- Crema Catalana: This traditional Spanish dessert, also known as burnt cream, is characterized by its citrus and cinnamon aroma and its crunchy caramelized crust.
- Crème Brûlée: This traditional French dessert literally means burnt (brûlée ) cream (crème). It belongs to the same family as the Spanish burnt cream, crema catalana, since both are desserts that consist of a custard base topped with burnt sugar.
- Spanish Custard (Natillas): This Spanish custard is one of the many desserts that my grandmother used to make for us. That´s why it reminds me of my childhood whenever I eat it!
And if you love this Spanish flan recipe, I invite you to try these other traditional Spanish dessert recipes.
Spanish Flan Recipe
- 6 eggs
- 2⅓ cups whole milk ( 570 ml )
- 1¼ cup sugar ( 250 gr )
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon water
- Preheat the oven to 356°F ( 180°C ).
- In a saucepan, add sugar and water over high heat. Gently shake and tilt the saucepan until the sugar mixes well and browns evenly. As soon as it is golden brown, remove it from the heat and pour it in the 6 mini flaneras, or flan ramekins.
- In a bowl, stir 6 eggs with a fork or a whisk on low speed.
- Add in milk and sugar to the egg mixture. Keep stirring on low speed until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the previously caramelized flaneras.
- Place the flan ramekins in a glass baking dish and fill it with enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of the flaneras.
- Cover them with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Allow them to cool to room temperature for about ten minutes before putting them in the refrigerator. The chilling time is 3 hours.
- Before serving, unmold them with the help of a knife. Place a plate on top and turn each flanera upside down. Et voilà... you have made a delicious flan that will take you back to your childhood!