Delicious, sweet and smooth, flan is also known as crème caramel or caramel custard. Relatively easy to make and a popular dessert worldwide, it’s no wonder that many foodies can’t resist having a mouthful.
The discovery that led to custard
The origin of flan can be dated all the way back to the Roman Empire. It was during this time the Romans had learned to domesticate chickens and began using the eggs. With the help of the Greeks’ extensive cooking knowledge, they eventually stumbled upon the custard dish we now savour as the dessert flan. In those days, it was made to be a savoury dish. Over the years, the recipes spread to various parts of the world.
The Spanish took this recipe and made it their own by adding the caramel sauce on top. The recipe was taken further to Mexico, where it is now a popular dish served in every home. Ultimately, with influences from around the world, this dessert has developed into something everyone can enjoy, sweet or savoury. The 3rd of October is when this dessert is honoured and is known as national caramel custard day
The basics of flan
The modern dessert, creme caramel or custard flan, is made with sugar and water, which are used to make the caramel topping. Other ingredients that are required include milk, sugar, vanilla essence and egg yolks for the custard. The caramel mixture is added to the bottom of the ramekins, then the custard is added on top. These are then placed into a container filled with water to utilise the bain-marie method of cooking. They are placed in the oven and, once cooled, are refrigerated for a few hours. The flan is then served by placing the ramekins upside down on a plate to have caramel on top and the custard at the bottom.
Kids love to combine flan with ice-cream, or you could add some cream. Sprinkle dried fruit over the top or some nuts to add texture. You can eat it as a dish on its own or the customary fashion as a dessert, for example, after a hearty meal of steak or Thai curry.
Spoon at the ready?
The soft texture of this dessert makes it an ideal sharing option. It’s almost wobbly nature brings a sense of childish joy.