The first time I attempted to make flan was Thanksgiving of this past year and I still have the scars to prove it. Hint for those who, like me, weren’t aware: melted sugar is HOT. The second time around I tried a different tactic with decidedly better results and significantly fewer sugar burns. It also tasted great, so that was a big plus.
If you’re going to conquer the flan, make sure you have some high quality oven mitts and a lot of extra patience + sugar. If this is your first time melting sugar, make sure you have an eye on it at all times. Even this time around my first batch burned and I had to start all over. If this still seems pretty daunting, check out my Tips + Tricks section below for some helpful pointers. Aka how the heck you’re supposed to swirl liquid hot sugar around a glass pie plate. You got this!
Makes 1 flan.
- 3 eggs
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
Kitchen Tools: small nonstick pan, pie plate (no ridges), silicon spatula, whisk, mixing bowl, large baking dish that fits the pie plate in it
Preheat your oven to 350*F. Whisk your eggs in the mixing bowl and then whisk in evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract.
Over medium low heat melt your sugar in the non-stick pan, making sure to stir it gently with your spatula about every 20 seconds so that the bottom doesn’t burn. Once the sugar has entirely melted into smooth caramel, continue your periodic gentle stirring until the sugar turns a light golden brown. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the melted sugar into the middle of your pie plate.
With oven-mitted hands lift the pie plate and swirl the sugar until it has coated the entire bottom and as far up the sides as you can get. You’ll need to do this relatively quickly before the sugar cools off. Here’s what it should more or less look like once the sugar has cooled:
Pour an inch of hot water in your baking dish and place the coated pie plate inside, making sure that the water does not come up over the sides. Pour in your milky egg mixture and carefully place the whole thing in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes until flan is set. Let it completely cool on the counter before inverting it on your serving dish. Voila!
*Melting sugar is a pain in the butt. Most everyone, including me, burns their first batch so don’t get discouraged. Just lower the heat a little the next time around.
*The key is to have the heat just hot enough to melt but not high enough to burn it too fast.
*By medium low heat, I mean if your burner is at a 1 to 10 scale where 1 is a simmer and 10 is blasting, set it at about a 3.
*Make sure that you are gently moving the sugar around while it’s melting in the pan so that the bottom doesn’t burn and ruin the batch.
*Be careful not to incorporate any of the sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan when you’re melting it. These guys will glom onto the melting sugar and make your caramel a chunky, ruined mess.
*If you haven’t been able to swirl the sugar all around the pie plate before it hardens, carefully place the entire pan over a burner and heat it at the same temperature as you did the nonstick pan until the sugar melts again. Repeat the swirling process again making SURE to use oven mitts. That pat is going to be piping hot.