Flan is commonly used as a term to describe the Spanish or Mexican version of Crème Caramel. Traditionally, however, Flan is both richer and denser than crème caramel, as it contains more eggs and yolks as well as light whipping cream, half and half, and/or sweetened condensed milk. Historically, flan was baked on top of a stove in a water bath. Now, the flan is cooked in a water bath inside the oven where it is bake slowly.
I grew up having & loving the Caramel Custard/ Crème Caramel which my mom would often make, but for a long time I was not aware that Flan was a dessert similar to the Caramel Custard that I was so familiar with. Another variation of the Crème Caramel & Flan is the Crème Brulee; the caramelization here is done under a broiler or by torch of the top of the custard/pudding, resulting in a hard caramel. Both ‘crème caramel‘ and ‘flan‘ are French names (from Old German flado ‘cake’), but have come to have different meanings in different regions. While in France, ‘flan’ usually means a custard tart, often with a fruit topping, in Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico & also in North America, flan refers to a variation of crème caramel.
Mexican food is loved all over! The spices, the flavors & the various texture & mostly the heartiness & the warmth makes it immensely appealing to all senses. I have always been making the Caramel Custard, I wanted to give “Flan de Mango” a try this time. Flan is an important part of the Latin American Cuisine. Ripe mangoes are filling the air in my kitchen with their sweet irresistible aroma. I have given 2 ways to prepare the Flan here, becoz this time I had to do it on the stove top the “old” way, in a pressure cooker; my oven is still not working. I am used to making the usual Caramel Custard in the pressure cooker, as I had always seen my mom make it.
Look for some important notes on cooking the Flan on the Stove Top at the end of the post.
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 1/2 Cup Condensed Milk (can be substituted with 1/2 Cup Milk + 1/2 Cup Sugar)
- 3/4 Cup Mango Puree
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Butter
- 1/2 Teaspoon Lime Juice (Optional)
Making the Caramel:
Lightly coat the baking dish with butter.
Place the sugar and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Put on medium-low heat and boil until the color becomes a clear golden brown; occasionally swirl the saucepan over the heat. When it has reached the golden color, immediately pour this caramel into the baking dish that you’ll be baking the flan in. Completely cover the bottom and a bit of the sides of this baking dish. Set aside.
If you want small individual servings of the flan, pour the caramel in the small baking dishes or ramekins.
Making the Flan:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Peel and cut the mangoes into pieces. Use a blender to purée the pieces. Put this purée through a sieve to separate and remove the fibers. Set the mango purée aside.
In a blender, add Eggs, Condensed Milk, Milk, Lemon zest, Vanilla Extract & Mango Puree & blend to a smooth consistency. Pass this milk mixture through a sieve into another large mixing bowl. Whisk till there are no streaky colors.
Pour this flan mixture into the baking dish. Cover the dish with a foil tightly or a lid. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan. Carefully add hot water to that pan, until the water reaches about half-way up the sides of the flan baking dish, making sure no water will enter the dish.
Place the pan into the oven, and bake for about an hour. After 1 hour, check for doneness by inserting a dinner knife or a toothpick into the center of the flan. If it doesn’t come out clean, bake for about 10 or 15 minutes more, checking every few minutes.
In the pressure cooker:
Make sure the container/dish with egg, mango & milk mixture fits inside the pressure cooker and you can attach the lid. Seal the container with a foil & tight lid. Fill with 2 inches of water (making sure that no water can enter the container while the water boils) and obtain desired pressure over high heat. Once you hear the whistling reduce heat to medium for 15-20 minutes.
Cooling the Flan:
When done, remove the flan baking dish to cool on a wire rack. When the flan has cooled down completely, place in the refrigerator & chill for a few hours before getting to serve.
Getting Ready to Serve:
When you’re ready to serve it, make the dish sit on a slightly hot bath for a couple of minutes; this will melt the caramel.
Make sure you pick a plate to turn it over that is bigger than the diameter of the Flan. Also keep in mind that there will be a lot of Caramel Juice.
Then run a dinner knife all around the sides, to loosen it. Then place a large platter over it, and flip it over. Carefully lift the baking dish up.
Serve with Mango Slices & Cream if you want.
Tips & Notes: I will make some notes here using the pressure cooker…learning from mistakes… If you look close enough in the “not” so great pictures (the presence of the glaring summer sun from 7 am to 8 pm is making it extremely difficult to photograph food, to many shadows in the bright light, when I have time, & when finally the sun mellows, it is dinner time & the hungry stomach cannot wait long enough for my photographic experiments )… the top of the Flan came our uneven; the reason being the container I used was smaller than I should have & the lid was too tight. When the Flan cooked & expanded, it did not have enough space to expand & unevenly bulged & ruined the beautiful smooth top a Flan is supposed to have – Ugly! Thankfully, it did not interfere with the taste. ]