Coconut Flan

I was recently in one of my favorite ethnic grocery stores and the special of the day was their freshly made flan.  I have always been a huge fan of flan (or really anything pudding or custard based).  The rich, yet delicate creaminess of a flan is so comforting and satisfying.  When I arrived home I knew I needed to make a flan for my next recipe post.

There are many versions of flan depending on which culture the recipe was derived from.  Some cultures use flour in their flan to create more of a sponge cake custard.  Cubans use an egg and milk based recipe to create a custard flan or what is referred to as a crème caramel.  This recipe follows a more of a Spanish and/or Puerto Rican style flan since it using whole eggs, condensed milk and coconut milk.

Flan may look intimidating to make, but they are actually quite easy.  The ingredients are simple and the prep time is relatively quick.  After the flans are baked, they do need to chill for a couple hours, so you will need to figure that into your recipe time if you are going to make them for a special event.  For this recipe, you will need ramekin “bowls”.  Ramekins can be found at most department, cooking or retail stores.

This coconut milk flan recipe is part of what I like to refer to as my “Off the Rocker” recipe series.  You can read more about my “Off the Rocker” recipes in my “About” page.  In a nutshell my “Off the Rocker” recipes are meant to be insanely rich, crowd pleasing, no holds barred type of recipes.  They are in a sense the Ying that completes my Yang, which would be my healthy recipes.  These recipes are not for the individuals who are diet or health conscious and they are not meant for everyday use but rather for occasional special gatherings.  They stray from my usual use of healthy and no/low processed ingredients.

Coconut Milk Flan

1 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)

1/2 can evaporated milk (12 ounces) 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease six (4-ounce) ramekins.  In a large skillet pan, heat the sugar over low heat until it melts and becomes slightly brown.  Spoon the sugar (now caramel) into the ramekins and set aside to cool.  

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract.  Heat the mixture over medium heat and stir continuously.  After about 5 minutes the liquid will begin to steam.  Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.  

In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs together and pour into the warm milk mixture.  Whisk the mixture constantly until the custard is well combined.   Place ramekins in a casserole dish and fill with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the custard mixture evenly among the ramekins (about 1/2 inch from the top). Using aluminum foil, cover the casserole dish tightly.

Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake in the preheated oven until the custard is set, about 1 hour. To test the flan, insert a knife into the center of a flan and it should come out clean.   Remove the casserole dish from the oven and then remove the ramekins from the water bath.  Allow the ramekins to cool to room temperature.   Once they have cooled, place covered in the refrigerate for about 2 to 3 hours to chill completely.  To remove the flan from the ramekins, place a plate over the top of the ramekin and flip to release the flan onto the plate.  You may need to run a butter knife along the edge of the ramekin before flipping to ensure it will release cleanly.

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