A Quick Dessert: Caramel Flan

If you ever come over for a dinner party at our place, you are likely to be served flan for dessert.  I am not an enthusiastic maker of desserts primarily because I end up eating most of what I make…so I just don’t go there.  The flan recipe below is great for a small dinner party or even the end of a special meal at home. Dessert leftovers are not a good thing.

Interestingly enough, my mother who is also not much of a dessert-maker (massive dessert-eater though) would always make creme caramel to finish off her lavish and abundant Indian buffet dinner parties.  I do not know how anyone even ate dessert after all the food she forced them to eat.  With my mother, if you are lucky enough to score an invite to one of her dinner parties, the best strategy to survive is to say you are full when you are just halfway full.  I used to “die” of embarrassment when she would insist in a very pushy manner that each guest eat more.  No amount of protesting would stop her from just dumping more food on your plate, which if you did not finish would end up causing offense.  Indian hospitality at it’s best (or worst).  I know one day I am going to be exactly like her and Ria is going to be in the corner rolling her eyes.  Life is strange like that.  We are all like our parents when they aren’t in the room.

Mom’s creme caramel recipe is complicated – it somehow requires a pressure cooker.  I have pressure cooker phobia (visions of it exploding), so I satisfy myself with the recipe below.  I can make this dessert in my sleep and I suspect Ria can as well since she has assisted me on many an occasion.  Only catch is that you have to make it the day before or at least six hours before you serve it. If you could make it and serve it right away it would be the perfect, quick dessert.

Caramel Flan (adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

Makes 1 eight-inch flan and serves 8.  I make mine in a loaf tin which means a unique rectangular flan.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs


  1. Fill a roasting pan with 2 inches of water. Transfer to oven; preheat to 325F (Be careful transferring in and out of oven)
  2. Cook sugar in a small heavy bottomed saucepan.  Stirring until sugar melts.  Continue cooking and stirring until sugar turns a dark caramel color.  Careful with this – sugar burns terribly and will get to the terribly stage in a hurry
  3. Pour caramel in baking dish you are using (8 inch cake pan or loaf tin)
  4. Blend condensed milk,  milk and eggs in a blender.  (I just use a med sized bowl and a whisk).  Pour into baking dish.  Transfer to roasting pan, placing it in the water
  5. Bake flan until just set – about 50 min to an hour
  6. Transfer to wire rack and cool
  7. Chill at least 6 hours or preferably overnight

19 thoughts on “A Quick Dessert: Caramel Flan

  1. That flan is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. It’s a great picture as well, and I encourage you to submit it to foodgawker or dessertstalking!
    I am very much my own mother when she is not in the room, that is an excellent point!

  2. OMG! I thought I was the only one with pressure cooker phobia, this caramel pudding made me really homesick. That’s the “only” dessert my mother knew how to do. So I had that a lot…lol
    Yours look so beautiful with the raspberries on top. Have a great weekend, and happy halloween.

  3. Hi! I just tried making the flan and it doesn’t seem to set after even 60 minutes. I’m working with a gas oven and never can tell exactly at what temp my oven is, but I did set it to 325 and didn’t put the flan into the water until after my oven had been on for about 30 min. Is there any harm in leaving the flan in the oven longer?

    • It actually looks like it hasn’t set but when you leave it in the fridge overnight – it “hardens” up. 50-60 min is enough. Just have trust the time and cool it and leave in the fridge and unmold the next day. Glad you tried it!

  4. This post was awesome ..I am planning to try it ..
    I am also afraid of pressure cooking !
    I also loved your post about we are our mothers when they are not in the room ..or on this earth any longer
    so true …

  5. Thanks, for a perfect flan…so yummy…hit the spot…so perfect in shape and slice-able into serving size and easy to drizzle an serve attractively. Everyone in our family just loved it and made our dinner evening so much more special as a grand finale to the menu for the night.

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