The most irresistibly smooth, silky, and sweet creme caramel flan recipe

 This is a silky smooth custard recipe for creme caramel or flan! Flan, or crème caramel, is a custard baked in a dish coated with caramelized sugar that forms a sauce when the custard is unmolded. The eggy custard basically gets a steam bath in the oven to create a silky smooth egg custard that is made in a round bundt like pan. This caramel custard is a custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce that resembles a chewy caramel candy, but in liquid form. I promise, this dessert is a slice of heaven that you just want to keep eating! Don’t delay in trying this spectacular and unique dessert. It is a great recipe to wow your guests or keep in the fridge for when that sweet tooth comes calling.

This is creme caramel, French/Italian upside-down flan dessert with luscious caramel on top. The texture is smooth and silky. The taste is sensational.

This silky, elegant custard makes for a show-stopping dessert, but can also be enjoyed as an afternoon snack. Everything is made ahead of time, so it will make dessert after dinner super easy and quick.

flan on plate

The difference between Creme Caramel, Flan, and Creme Brûlée

Creme caramel is eggier and silky unlike creme brûlée which is more like a custard sauce with a sugar candy crust. Both are delicious and different despite the same ingredients. One is more unifying the other more about contrasts. I prefer creme caramel for the stronger caramel infused taste in the custard. Creme caramel, flan, or caramel custard is a custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce, contrasted with crème brûlée which is custard with a hard caramel layer on top.

Another distinction- crème caramel (“caramel cream“) and flan are French names, but flan has come to have different meanings in different regions. In Spanish-speaking countries and often in the United States, crème caramel is known as flan.

In Italy we call it both creme caramel AND flan- so take your pick!

Best Flan

My Nonna always added a little lemon peel that adds flavor to the flan. You can serve it with the lemon peel or discard before serving.

Creme Caramel Flan Story

I vividly remember my Nonna Laura making this recipe in our beach house in Sardgena. I still remember the metal mold she used that my mamma now keeps in her kitchen. I remember the way she said “creme caramel” and “flan” like a song so sweet I could hardly wait to eat. She always added a little lemon zest that brought in a unique and subtle flavor that separates it from the rest. My nonna made it often when she came to visit us in the United States as it is one of my mothers favorites as well. My mamma makes it often now when she craves a taste of home. When I was pregnant and nursing she often brought me creme caramel flan since it is rich in protein with the eggy custard, yet a sweet and silky dessert. There are some recipes that forever stay in your heart as they remind you of someone and this is definitely one of those recipes for me. I hope you can try and see the sweet sensation that lies in this creme caramel flan recipe.

Flan

Tips to get the smooth and creamy texture you desire

  • Use warm milk (don’t skip this step!)
  • Incorporate the warm milk to the egg mixture a little bit at a time and stir constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs
  • Make sure to pour the final mixture through a sieve (strainer) HERE IS THE ONE I USE (coupon with link)
  • Bake low and slow with a water bath to ensure the perfect bake

Links to the bundt pan and ramekins I recommend

More Desserts for YOU:

Italian Pear Cake

Lemon Yogurt Loaf (blueberries optional)

French Apple Tart

Italian Olive Oil, Orange, and Honey Cake

ALL THE SWEETS HERE

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flan on plate

Creme Caramel Flan Recipe

  • Author: Elena
  • Category: Sweet/ Dessert
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This is the smoothest custard recipe for creme caramel or flan! Flan, or crème caramel, is a custard baked in a dish coated with caramelized sugar that forms a sauce when the custard is unmolded. I promise, this dessert is a slice of heaven that you just want to keep eating! Don’t delay in trying this spectacular and unique dessert. It is a great recipe to wow your guests or keep in the fridge for when that sweet tooth comes calling.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 1/4 Cups (1 liter)  milk
  • 1 Cup (200 grams) sugar (divided)
  • 6 eggs 
  • 1 vanilla bean (cut lengthwise with the seeds scrapped out) OR 2 tsp vanilla extract  
  • pinch of salt 
  • 2 Tbs lemon peel (cut lemon skin just the yellow part)
  • 1 round bundt pan as the mold (another option: about 8 (6 oz) individual ramekins)
  • 1 roasting pan or oven safe dish that is deep enough to fit the baking pan or ramekins with enough room for 2 inches of water at the bottom 

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven 325 degrees F
  2. For caramel, in a stainless sauce pan and add 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook on  medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the sugar is completely dissolved, bring it to a boil without stirring until the color turns into dark caramel brown. Quickly pour the caramel into the bundt pan (or ramekins)  to coat all the sides. Set aside. 
  3.  Add the milk and lemon peel to a separate saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat until just hot, (not boiling!!). Then remove from the heat.
  4.  Beat the eggs with the remaining 1/2 Cup sugar until well combined. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, a ladleful at a time until completely incorporated into the eggs. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. 
  5.  Pour the entire mixture through a sieve (metal strainer) into a large bowl. You can put lemon peel back into the creme mixture and bake with it or discard at this point. Pour the mixture into the prepared bunt pan or individual ramekins lined with caramel. Place bunt pan or ramekins in an oven safe dish or roasting pan. 
  6. Very carefully pour 2-3 cups boiling water into the bottom of the roasting pan (it should reach half way up the side of the baking dish), avoiding splashing or pouring into the creme mixture. Place in the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour for the bundt pan and 30-35 minutes for the ramekins until the center jiggles just a little bit. Remove from the roasting pan from the oven.  Allow to cool slightly and then wrap with the bundt pan or ramekins with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  7. When ready to serve gently run a butter knife near the edges just enough to loosen the flan and tip upside down onto a flat plate. Watch the caramel sauce pour out onto the plate. Yum. Enjoy! 

Keywords: creme caramel, flan, dessert, custard, italian dessert, flan recipe, creme caramel recipe