Flan is one of the most common desserts all over Spain. You will see it listed on menus around the country. But beware, it is no longer always fresh! You should look for the word ‘casero’ (homemade) next to it or, if in doubt, ask. Otherwise, you might be served an industrial flan which is no more than a big disappointment.
The flan -in English often called after the French dessert crème caramel- is an egg-based dessert which is cooked in a water bath, giving it a smooth texture and a divine taste. Its main ingredients are eggs, sugar and milk. However, there are many recipes which add extra flavours. The most famous versions are the simple ‘flan de huevo’ (Egg-flan), ‘flan de queso’ (Cheese-flan) and ‘flan de café’ (Coffee flan). The below recipe is the basic Egg-flan, with an added touch of vanilla and cinnamon.
The Spanish Crème Caramel
- 75 g white sugar
- 2 tbs water
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 medium-sized eggs
- 75 g sugar
- 250 ml whole milk
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cinnammon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160ºC and prepare a medium-sized bowl or 4 small bowls.
Start making the caramel by mixing the sugar, lemon and water in a pan on medium heat. Stir the mixture throughout until it gets golden-brown. Then remove it from the hob and pour into the bowl(s). Set aside.
Mix all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl or measuring cup and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture in the bowl(s) with the caramel.
Place bowl(s) in a pan. Fill the pan with water until almost spilling into the bowl(s) (but be careful that no water actually gets into them!).
Carefully place then pan in the preheated oven for about 45 min. To ensure that it is cooked, use a knife and see if it comes out clean.
Once cooked, take bowls out of the pan and leave to cool down in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
To serve, turn each bowl over a plate and carefully remove the flan. You can serve this with whipped cream or just on its own.