Whether you call it Caramel Custard, Creme Caramel or Caramel Flan, this luxuriously velvety dessert will hit the spot! Easy to make recipe with video and step by step pictures below!
When I think of Caramel Custard I think of those long buffet tables at restaurants in Pakistan. The white bowls with salads and condiments, that array of silver chafing dishes, and then that smorgasbord of desserts at the end. There always were gulab jamuns lazing in their syrupy bath, sponge cakes topped with cream swirls and finally, my favorite, the ring of Caramel Custard.
Why label this Caramel Custard as Pakistani?
When I was in college I attended an International Students Association event and spotted a Caramel Custard on the table. As I dug into it I realized quickly enough that the one I grew up eating and this one - made with evaporated and condensed milk - were not one and the same.
Step by Step Caramel Custard Recipe:
Step One: Make the caramel
Pour your water and sugar in the pan, bring to a simmer and watch as it changes colour. When it hits a dark amber pour it in to the pan.
Step Two: Caramel Milk
Pour your milk, cream, sugar, and salt into the pan you made your caramel in. Stir well on low heat - just enough to make sure all the caramelly goodness gets mixed into the milk. Take it off the heat.
Step Three: Blend Baby Blend
Blend your six eggs and vanilla extract in your blender and then add the milk mixture back in - you can do this through the pour spout as the blender runs or if your milk is lukewarm then pour it directly in. Hot milk curdles eggs.
Tip: if you see bits of what you suspect are curdled eggs then simply pour the milk mixture in to your pan through a sieve to catch those bits
Step Four: Pour & Bake
Pour that lovely caramel milk mixture into your caramel bottomed pan. Place the pan inside another oven safe pan/dish. Pour hot water into it leaving just the top inch of the pan unsubmerged. Bake at 325F for 50 minutes for this pan.
Step Five: Flip and Serve!
Tip: I often make this dessert when I entertain because you can make it a day or two in advance and flip before serving!
Caramel Talk: Two Ways to Make Caramel
There are two ways to make Caramel: Dry and Wet.
- Dry means you sprinkle the sugar in your pan and let it change colour. If you are comfortable making caramel then this approach minimizes crystallization. However, the color change happens more rapidly here so keep close watch on the colour.
- Wet is what is written into the recipe card, it is a little more forgiving, but stirring can cause crystallization. Just gently swirl your caramel to get rid of pesky sugar crystals.
Caramel Custard FAQS
A Caramel Custard or Flan has an egg and milk base. If you overcook the custard then the eggs inside the custard effectively start to scramble causing those grainy sides and that eggy taste. A custard is done when the center is still pretty jiggly, even slightly wet to the touch and the sides are set.
I have two that I like and they both take seconds. One is a regular blender and the other is an immersion blender. Both result in a smooth caramel custard without eggy bits.
Walk way from that carton of non fat milk. Just don't even think about it. The low fat milk will not have the richness to stand up to the eggs in the base. My preference here is to use full fat for the milk and whipping cream for the cream, but you can use
All whole milk
Whole Milk or 2% (2 cups) and Half-n-half or table cream (1 cup)
Bonus Tip: For the BEST Caramel Custard
If you want to make the best caramel custard you have ever had then use a vanilla bean.
It is undoubtedly an indulgence, but well worth it for special occasions. Simply halve the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and mix into your milk as you warm it stove top. Add the scraped pod in there for extra flavour and just when you're about to mix it into your eggs then remove the pod.
Hope you love this take on one of my childhood favourites! Do rate the recipe below and tag me in your recreations on Instagram @flourandspiceblog - your feedback always keeps me going!
Caramel Custard or Caramel Flan
- 1 5*7 loaf pan or a 8 inch round pan
- A roasting pan large enough to fit the custard pan (above)
- A blender or an Immersion blender
- ½-2/3 cup sugar (⅔ for a round pan, ½ for a loaf)
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups Milk Whole preferred, but nothing lower than 2%
- 1 cup Cream Whipping or Table, either is fine. Half in Half works too
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 6 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Salt
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and place the roasting pan with an inch or two of water inside the oven.
- Pour the water into a heavy bottomed pan and then sprinkle your sugar over top. Do not stir.
- Keep the pan on medium heat and keep a close eye on the sugar, but again do not stir.
- As the sugar turns a honey color watch carefully, you want a dark amber liquid, but this happens very fast. You can swirl the pan gently to even the caramelizing
- As soon as it turns a beautiful amber colour pour it into your custard dish.
- There is loads of beautiful caramel flavour still in the pan you used for caramelizing the sugar so pour your liquids into the pan along with the sugar and the salt and warm through stirring occasionally. Take your milk off the heat.
- Crack 6 eggs into your blender along with the vanilla extract and pulse/blend slightly to create an even mix.
- Now while your blender is running on low pour the milk mix into the blender through the feed tube/opening, stop running the blender as soon as it is all in. If you are not comfortable pouring while blending then just wait for your milk to cool to room temperature and pour it directly into the blender.
- Pour the mixture into your caramel dish, you can remove the foam from the top.
- Place the pan inside the roasting pan with water and gently pour in more hot water so that only the top inch of the pan isn't submerged.
- Bake until the sides are set and the center is still jiggly, 50- 55 minutes for a loaf pan, 40-45 for a round pan. When you touch the top it will seem soft but set.
- Cool completely (4 hours+ in the fridge) then run a knife along the edges to seperate them. Invert in a dish with high sides and pour the remaining caramel sauce in the pan into another small bowl for your grateful loved ones.
- If you want to skip warming the milk in the caramel pan then simply pour it into the blender as is.
- If some of the caramel stays stuck to the bottom of the pan after you flip the custard/flan then pour over some boiling water to loosen it up
- For more tips and tricks please read the blog post!
Want to see some more of my childhood favourites?