Creamy Coconut Flan for My Fans

Creamy Coconut Flan for My Fans

Flan is considered to be an hispanic dish but can be found in a variety of styles all over the world.  In fact, the first to make a similar such dish were the Romans and it was often savory, not sweet (it is said they borrowed some baking concepts from the Greeks to create the dish).  It was the Spaniards who first added the sugary, caramel sauce (supposedly influenced by the Moors).  In the 1500’s, Spanish conquistadores introduced the treat when they arrived in Mexico.  After that, the popularity of the dish spread and many other flavors like chocolate and coffee were added to the dish, including coconut.

The French make a similar dessert called Creme Caramel (apparently in Italy it is known as Creama Caramella).  As far as I can see, the biggest difference between the two is the amount of eggs and egg yolks used.  Also some, but not all, flan recipes contain sweetened condensed milk, which I have not found in Creme Caramel recipes.  When I was in French cooking school, we made Creme Caramel and baked it small ramekins in a hot water bath, known as a Bain Marie (defined as a container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking).  Flan is baked the same way.  This method slows the baking process, creates gentle and uniform heating, and reduces the amount of bubbles that can develop in the custard.  A Bain Marie looks like this:

Today we will focus on Flan and add the delicate and fabulous flavor of coconut. This recipe has relatively few ingredients and most are below:

Also, instead of several small ramekins, I used one larger pan (both work equally well but baking time will vary).  You may note that I used fat free Evaporated Milk.  The original recipe called for regular Evaporated Milk; however, I found that the fat free worked perfectly well and cuts down, just a tad, on calories.

Creamy Coconut Flan
Print Recipe
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
45-50 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
45-50 minutes
Creamy Coconut Flan
Print Recipe
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
45-50 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
45-50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a hot water bath (Bain Marie, see above) by placing an 8-inch round cake pan inside a 13x9 inch baking pan (you may need a larger pan if your 8-inch pan has a lip). Fill the larger, outer pan with hot water (does not have to be boiling) to 1/2 inch depth.
  2. On stovetop, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it has all melted and is a dark, caramel brown (do not burn it, it will taste terrible). Moving quickly but careful not to get any of the melted sugar on you, pour the caramel into the 8-inch pan and swirl to cover the bottom. In my case I did not work fast enough and the caramel hardened before it was all around the bottom of the pan. No worries! The finished product turned out perfectly anyway (see attached image).
  3. In a mixer, or a blender, combine coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined (you don't want to see a bunch of large egg white particles floating about). Pour mixture into the 8-inch pan which you have already placed in the Bain Marie.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. May be slightly browned on top here and there. Remove from the Bain Marie and cool pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
  5. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan, pressing the sharp edge closely to the wall of the pan (see attached image). Place serving platter on top of the pan, moving quickly and holding tightly, flip the pan over onto serving platter. The dessert will fall easily onto the platter. If not, shake gently and it should release. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours prior to serving. Top with toasted coconut (see recipe notes below for how to toast) to add a delightful crunch to enhance the creamy flan.
Recipe Notes

How to toast sweetened, shredded coconut:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  1. Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet in a thin layer and bake in preheated oven. The flakes will toast very quickly and won't take more than 5-10 minutes.
  2. After a few minutes stir the coconut to help ensure even color

"The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk." -  Dustin Hoffman

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