This dessert is called flan in Mexican and Spanish cuisine, and crème caramel in French cuisine. The taste is incredible and the texture is more delicate than tender! The Mexicans inherited the recipe from the Spanish settlers who came to explore the New World.
Mexico is rich in unusual sweets like amaranth bars or sweet potato candies filled with coconut or mango and sprinkled with hot chili peppers. But the heart of the locals is flan, a simple and straightforward dessert made of milk and eggs.
In terms of consistency and taste, this dessert is most reminiscent of crème brulee. They are similar in composition – milk base, sugar and eggs. Only creme brulee uses cream, which makes it fatter, and the flan recipe uses milk.
There are many variations of flan in Mexico: with cow and coconut milk, with banana, mango, strawberries, and with the addition of cottage cheese. In some recipes you can find the use of cream, in others in addition to sweet condensed milk it is suggested to use unsweetened condensed milk, such flans are called “tres leches” – three milks.
I, on the other hand, offer the most simplified and budget-friendly recipe for Mexican cream caramel. There is no cream and no unnecessary gestures like heating the milk mass in a water bath. We make the caramel, mix the base ingredients and bake in the oven. All we have to do is to cool the flan and take it out of the mold, because it is supposed to be served cold.
The flan can be made in either portioned ramekins or in one large round mold.
⏱ Cooking time — 15 minutes overall. Includes 10 minutes of preparation and cooking + 5 minutes unattended.
🍽 For 4 servings:
- 200 g (7,1 oz) white sugar
- 240 g (8,5 oz) milk
- 370 g (13,1 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 50 ml (3,4 tbsp) orange juice (optional, ~1/2 orange)
🔪Step by step Directions
Take a pan or saucepan, pour 200 g (7,1 oz) of white sugar, add about 50 ml (3,4 tbsp) of water to soak all the sugar, stir.
Turn on the medium heat and turn the sugar into amber-colored caramel.
When the sugar begins to change color to golden – turn down the heat so as not to burn it, but continue cooking.
If it starts to smoke, lift the pan/pan, letting it cool slightly. Stir the contents by tilting the casserole from side to side, do not stir with a spatula.
Prepare a baking dish about 22-26 cm in diameter. Pour the resulting caramel immediately into the mold, twisting it so that the caramel spreads evenly over the bottom.
Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to harden.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C/ 360 °F, top+down mode.
Squeeze 50 ml (3,4 tbsp) of orange juice from the orange. This is about 1/2 of a whole juicy orange.
Take 3 eggs, separate the yolks from the whites.
In a deep bowl, mix 370 g (13,1 oz) sweetened condensed milk, 2 eggs, 3 yolks and 50 ml (3,4 tbsp) of orange juice.
Whisk the mixture with a whisk until smooth.
Take the caramel mold out of the refrigerator and strain the liquid mixture into it through a fine sieve. Cover the mold with foil.
Take a high baking tray, put the flan mold in it. Fill the baking tray with boiling water to the level of ~ 1/3-1/2 of the height of the mold.
Send the tray with the water and the mold on it to a preheated 180 °C / 360 °F oven.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes (the smaller the mold is in diameter and the flan is taller, the longer it takes to bake).
The flan should grip, but remain slightly movable, springy, as if jellied.
Carefully take the tray out of the oven, remove the form with the flan and cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or better overnight.
Take the flan mold out of the refrigerator and carefully, with a long, thin knife, cut around the edges, going down to the bottom across the diameter of the mold to separate the edges.
Pour hot water into a deep baking tray, put the mold in it for a couple of minutes. Cover the top with a large dish and sharply invert the form with the flan on the dish. The flan should be free to come out of the mold and be on the dish.
If this does not happen, try holding the mold a little longer in hot water, and sometimes just tapping the mold is enough.
Cut into portions and serve.
There’s an interesting way to serve this, where you put crushed ice in a bowl, pour coffee and milk into it (you can have condensed milk if you like it extremely sweet), and put a portion of flan on top. They break off a piece of flan, dip it in the coffee drink, and eat it.
Mexican crème caramel or Flan Mexicano
- 200 g white sugar
- 240 g milk
- 370 g sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 50 ml orange juice (optional, ~1/2 orange)
- Pour the sugar into a pan or saucepan, add about 50 ml of water to soak all the sugar and stir to combine. Turn on medium heat and turn the sugar into an amber color caramel. When the sugar begins to change color to turn down the heat so it doesn't burn, but continue continue to heat. If it starts to smoke – raise the pan/tray, let it cool slightly. Stir the contents by tilting the casserole from side to side, do not stir with a spatula.
- Pour into a baking dish about 22-26 cm in diameter, swirl the mold so that the caramel spreads evenly over the bottom. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 360 °F, on high + low.Squeeze 50 ml of orange juice from ~ half an orange, separate the yolks of 3 Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Mix condensed milk, milk, 2 eggs, 3 yolks and orange juice with a whisk.
- Take the caramel mold out of the refrigerator and pour the liquid mixture. Cover with foil.Take a tall baking tray and place the flan mold in it. Fill with boiling water, to a level ~ 1/3-1/2 of the height of the mold.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes (the smaller the mold and the higher the flan, the longer). The flan should firm up, but remain slightly mobile, springy, as if jelly-like. Carefully remove the tray and from the oven, take out the form with flan, cool to room temperature. Place in fridge for at least 3 hours, better overnight.
- Take the flan mold out of the refrigerator and gently slit the edges with a long thin knife, lowering it to the bottom across the diameter of the mold to separate the edges. Place the mold in hot water for a couple of minutes.Cover with a large dish and invert the mold with flan onto the dish.