Coffee Latin Flan – My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball

Cooks illustrated flan recipe

Flan is a baked cream, usually served with caramel sauce. I first heard of him in 1995, when my neighbor asked a woman he was dating at the time if she knew how to make Flan. “Of course,” he said, “Flan Royal.” Wow, not a simple flan for commoners, but Royal Flan. I thought she was a “gatekeeper.” But it turned out that Royal was just a brand of jelly; Most Latin Americans don’t make flan from scratch, in the same way that we (as a country) no longer make chocolate pudding. (Note to yourself: make chocolate pudding.)

The Flan was really impressive, but I was a little nervous that it would drop properly and the candy would be thick and fluid. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I liked the addition of espresso powder as it made the flan more interesting. The flan is very powerful and this yields enough to serve a large crowd. 4-1/2 stars.


  1. For me, the cooking times of the caramel were considerably longer than specified in the recipe. The most critical thing was that I continued until I saw the reddish-amber tones specified in Step 3.
  2. Because my cooking times were noticeably longer when making the caramel, I used 3 tablespoons of water instead of the 2 tablespoons specified in the recipe. My fear was that more water would have a chance to evaporate and that the candy might completely seize on my bread tray. The final consistency was perfect.
  3. I would recommend making your candy in a stainless steel coated pot. I made mine in a Calphalon (anodized aluminum) skillet, and it was hard to see the color of the caramel to judge its preparation. The good news is that the reddish amber color was easily detected.
  4. Chris Kimball also has a variation using almonds (which uses 1 teaspoon of almond extract instead of espresso powder). Or for a regular custard, just skip the espresso powder.
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Rating: 4-1/2 stars. Cost: $3.50. How much work? Medium/High. How big is a disaster? Low. Start time: 1 PM. End time: 4 PM. (to serve the next day)

The original recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

2/3 cup sugar (4-2/3 ounces) 2 large

eggs plus 5 large yolks 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 12 ounces evaporated milk 1/2 cup whole milk 1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract 4 teaspoons powdered instant espresso powder 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a medium saucepan, Add 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Mix until the sugar is completely moist.
  2. Place the pan over the medium-high burner and bring to a boil (4 to 5 minutes). Cook without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Gently shake the pan and continue cooking for another 2 minutes until it turns the color of peanut butter.
  3. Remove for burner and shake the pan until the mixture turns red-amber, about 15 to 20 seconds. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of warm tap water, which will bubble a steam, and shake until incorporated.
  4. Empty the candy onto an 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ bread pan pan (mine was 9″x5″). Do not scrape the saucepan, just allow the liquid to pour itself. Set the bread aside.
  5. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Fold a tea towel to fit evenly in a 13″ x9″ Pyrex baking dish and set aside. Bring two quarts of water to a boil.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs and yolks. Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, vanilla extract, espresso powder, and salt. Beat until combined.
  7. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bread pan containing the caramel. Use aluminum foil to tightly cover the bread pan and place it in a baking dish on top of the tea towel. Put in the oven and carefully add the two quarts of boiling water in the Pyrex baking dish.
  8. Bake for 1-1/

  9. 4 to 1-1/2 hours until the cream reaches 180 degrees. The center of the cream will still shake slightly. Remove the aluminum foil and let cool completely in the water bath; about 1 hour.
  10. Once cold, remove from the water bath and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight for up to 4 days.
  11. When you are ready to unmold the flan, use a peeling knife to slide and release the edges. Invert the plate to serve on top of the bread pan, turn over. After it is released, you can use a rubber spatula for scraping and the remaining caramel in the flan.
  12. Cut and serve, and leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 6th, 2014 at 8:27 am and is filed under 2014 Recipe, Desserts. You can follow any response to this post via the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a reply or trackback from your own site.

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