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My family’s flan recipe dates back to the late 1700s/ early 1800s.
As the only girl in her family, my grandmother learned to cook from her mother and inherited some of our family’s most beloved recipes.
Like this one.
It originally came from Spain and had no vanilla. Vanilla is native to Mexico.
That’s why I refer to this recipe as “Mexican Flan.”
Sweet, creamy, decadent, and delicious.
Table of Contents
How to Make It
- Put the eggs in a large bowl.
- Whisk the eggs together.
It comes together very, very easily. Waiting for HOURS TO CHILL is what’s the hard part.
This is an authentic flan recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation.
It was given to me by my grandmother, the original Mama Maggie. My namesake.
She told me when she handed it to me that it was handed down to her by her grandmother.
Orange zest is used to make this Mexican flan recipe. Some people will even add orange juice to their flan recipe.
We just want a HINT of orange not a strong “knock-your-socks-off” orange-y flavor.
Did you know that vanilla grows native in Mexico? YES! Here is a popular brand of Mexican vanilla you can buy online.
- Once it’s out of the oven, place on a cooling rack.
- Let cool slightly.
Milks to use: Either whole milk or half and half.
How does flan vary from country to country?
They are very, very similar.
Where in Mexico, we use whole milk, the islands such as Cuba and Puerto Rico will use sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk. They lacked fresh foods, and that is why they had to use canned foods.
Nowadays, though, you will see some of their recipes also use whole milk or half and half.
- Cover and place in the fridge.
- Chill for 3 ½ hours.
You can’t skip this step. Hard, I know, but it needs to set.
Overnight in the fridge is best. Although, it really just needs is 3 ½ hours.
- When you’re ready to unmold, run a knife around the edge of the pan.
The DEEPER the pan, the THICKER your flan will be.
Let’s Talk about Pans, Man!
The presentation of this dessert using a fluted edge pan is beautiful, but it can be hard to unmold UNLESS you get one that has a removable bottom. I recommend this fluted edge pan.
In the video, I’m using a regular pie pan. If you are using this recipe, you will need to use TWO pie pans. Yes, two flans!
Use a serving plate that is LARGER than the pan.
OR, the caramel sauce will spill all over the place, and the flan will fall apart. No bueno.
- Once you’ve flipped it, give it a minute before full removing the pan.
There might be a section or so that did not completely come loose. That’s ok.
No dessert is perfect.
It’ll still be YUMMY and creamy.
More Mexican Desserts:
Pumpkin Flan, Chocolate flan, you’ll even see key lime flan.
My favorite variation is Chocoflan which is a combination of chocolate cake and flan. YUM!
Do you see the picture below, and how the caramel is pouring down the flan?
Makes you just want to lick the plate clean!
Are you drooling? Because I sure am!!
Flan dates back to the Ancient Roman times. You know, Cesar and the Colosseum? Yeah, that!
From there, it spread to Spain, England, France because the Romans conquered lots of lands in Europe.
The Spanish, though, were the first (or so it seems) to add a caramelized sugar top. They brought flan to Latin America, and that’s how we got it in Mexico.
We adapted it in Mexico, and someone in my family perfected it. LOL!
More Spanish-Mexican Desserts
I originally published this recipe for my son. What better way to discover your roots and your culture than through food.
Our foods say a lot about us, who we are, where we have been, where we’re going.
Traditions and family are everything to me and my family.
I know that my grandmother would have loved to share this recipe with you too.
Hungry for More?
- Heat ½ cup sugar in a skillet, stirring constantly until it melts.
- It will turn a dark golden color.
- Remove from heat.
- Immediately pour the melted sugar into a round tart pan or round pie pan.
- Swirl it around the pan to evenly coat the bottom.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
- To the bowl, add milk (or half and half), ½ cup sugar, vanilla, and orange peel.
- For the water bath:
- Place a large roasting pan on an oven rack.
- Inside the roasting pan, add the caramel coated pan to the center.
- Pour egg mixture into the caramel coated pan.
- Run the tap water until it gets hot.
- Carefully add the hot tap water in the roasting pan and around the uncooked flan pan to a depth of 1 inch.
- Bake at 325 F for close to l hour, or until a knife comes out clean.
- Cool the flan on a wire rack.
- Then chill for at least 3½ hours.
- To unmold the flan:
- Use a spatula and gently go around the sides of the pan.
- Place the serving platter over the pan.
- Flip the pan and the platter and allow the flan to come down.
- Spoon any of the caramel that may remain in the pan on top of the flan.
- Slice and Enjoy!
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.