Richer and more concentrated than English-style custard, flan is the quintessential Latin American fine dessert. To get the texture right, many recipes call for sweetened condensed and/or evaporated milk, and a starting off by making a rich, reddish, amber caramel is non-negotiable. Still, flan is a living, changing thing, a truth reflected in the breadth and variety of these 8 recipes.
1. Coconut Flan
Coconut milk blends with sweetened condensed milk and a touch of rum to form the basis of this cool, refreshing, and beautifully rich end to a complex and spicy meal. In classic crème caramel fashion, a wonderfully deep and amber caramel turns into a sauce and topping, all in one, when the finished flan is turned out. Get our Coconut Flan recipe.
2. Pumpkin Pie Flans
A recipe for individual flans that combines what’s delicious about flan (that is, the rich, semi-fluid amber caramel topping) and what’s best about pumpkin pie (hint: it’s the spices). This is a dessert that ends a holiday meal without heavy pastry, while still feeling celebratory. Get our Pumpkin Pie Flans recipe.
3. Burnt Sugar Flan
Whole milk, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla—that’s all this classic flan (a.k.a. crème caramel) calls for. The thing that makes it succeed is all in the technique: getting the proper caramel on the sugar that turns into the topping and sauce, and not overcooking, to keep the custard’s texture smooth and nongrainy. Get Herbivoracious’ Burnt Sugar Flan recipe.
4. Coffee Flan
Coffee is the secret ingredient in the caramel for this luscious home-style flan, made with condensed milk. Be patient, says, blogger Violet Tran. Good flan takes patience and experience to get just right. Get Violettran91’s Coffee Flan recipe.
5. Dulce de Leche Flan
This unusually deep-tasting flan starts out in the usual way, by lining the pan with a beautiful amber caramel. How it gets extra-delicious is by combining dulce de leche with condensed milk for the body of the custard. Get Food52’s Dulce de Leche Flan recipe.
6. Choco Flan
Here’s a three-layer Latin American–style flan. There’s a chocolate cake batter on the bottom, a standard flan custard in the middle, and a delicious cajeta or dulce de leche layer on top. Here’s where flan can be the guest of honor at a birthday or other partt. Get House2House’s Choco Flan recipe.
7. Almond Flan
Almonds are blended for two minutes with both evaporated and sweetened condensed milk in this evocative and subtly perfumed flan with a Spanish aura. Cutting it into squares for serving is an unusual idea that gets attention! Get Ceja Vineyards’ Almond Flan recipe.
8. Flan with Caramel and Orange
“My Spanish food mentor from decades ago,” writes Andrew Zimmern, “cookbook author Penelope Casas, inspired me with a flan recipe she used to cook. The orange is a classic Iberian Peninsula flavoring addition (no surprise here), but resting the flan out of the water after cooking is key.” Get Andrew Zimmern’s Flan with Caramel and Orange recipe.