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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Caramel Custard or Flan

Caramel custard, as I have known it most of my life or flan, as I have come to know it in the last few years, is possibly my favorite dessert. I still remember the first time I ate it in Delhi eons ago. It was absolutely delicious. I wasn't a big fan of sweets while growing up but this was one of those desserts that I never turned down. I am absolutely fascinated by the beautiful shades of golden and the rich brown top layer. Of course the best part of the dish is the sweet, deep golden brown caramel flowing over the top. I must absolutely have a big serving of the caramel over my caramel custard.

I know that it is easily available in grocery stores next to the puddings or can easily be whipped up from an instant mix. However, there is nothing like the authentic thing sans the additives and preservatives. Give me home made anytime!! It is also a quick recipe, so it is a perfect dessert for a weekday. I made this dessert recently and the entire family enjoyed it. I am already waiting for the next time! Can't wait to make it again.

2.5 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the caramel sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

To make the caramel
Add sugar to a pan and then add the water. Do not stir or mix the sugar, (such that it dissolves into the water). Heat the pan, till the sugar starts to dissolve and it will then caramelize. At this stage, you can swirl the pan, but do not stir with a spoon. Once, it had turned a deep golden brown, turn off the heat and then pour it into the base of your mould.

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Mix this till the miuxture is frothy and light yellow.
Heat up the milk till you can see bubbles on the surface and then turn off the heat. Once it has cooled down to a luke warm temperature, pour  it slowly into the sugar and egg mixture. It is very important that you keep stirring the egg mix as you slowly add the milk in. This will ensure that the eggs do not get scrambled. The resultant mixture will become custardy. Add the vanilla essence and mix. Pour the mixture a sieve. Then pour this into the mould over the caramel sauce.  Now, place it in a pressure cooker (without placing the weight on the cooker) or a steamer, steam cook it for 15-20 minutes. At the 15 minute stage, open the lid and check if it has set. It will be wiggly and look soft in the center.  If not cook for a few more minutes. See tips for how to cook it in the oven.

Cool on a cooling rack and then keep it in the fridge for at least an hour befor unmoulding. To remove from the  mould, run a knife around the sides and then place a plate on the mould. Then turn the plate and mould (together) upside down.

Do not let the caramel cool down before pouring it into the mould. It will get sticky and you will not be able to pour it out.
You can also use a water bath to cook the caramel custard in the oven. Place the mould in which the caramel is to be set into another oven proof vessel which is deep enough to hold water. You should be able to add enough water, such that the water level comes to halfway up the sides of the mould. Use hot boiling water and then place the pan in the oven to be cooked. Preheat the oven to 350F and cook it at this temperature for five minutes and then turn down the temperature to 325F and cook for 30-40 minutes till the caramel is set and the center seems firm but wobbly.


  1. Great recipe! Any ideas where you might get the mould you are talking about? Links/pictures, if any? Thanks a bunch!

    1. you can use any bowl that you want. If you are using a pressure cooker, you can use a steel vessel. If you are using an oven, then any oven safe pan is okay (it needs to be smaller than the pan you will keep it in which will have the water). I will update the post with pictures as soon as possible

  2. 3 egg yolks is in addition to 3 full eggs?