Recipe Deep Dive - Flan

Recipe Deep Dive - Flan

Are you a fan of flan? We sure are! This cool, creamy custard is lusciously soft yet holds its shape when unmolded. Also called crème caramel, this baked custard is inverted for serving, a thin caramel sauce coats the top and pours down the sides, pooling deliciously on the plate.

Flan is wildly popular around the world, especially in Mexico and Latin America. This dessert has a history as rich as its taste. This sweet dish dates back as far as the Roman Empire. The Romans, the first to domesticate chickens, were also the first to ask: What do we do with all these eggs? The answer, according to surviving cookbooks, was to make custards.

Called “flado,” these custard cakes were originally savory, flavored with fish or meat (think quiche). However, that began to change when cooks started to add honey to create the sweeter version more closely related to what we know today. When the Roman Empire finally fell, flan lived on.

Making its way across Europe, this decadent dessert became extremely popular in Spain, especially after the introduction of the signature caramelized sugar top. The Moors also contributed to this wonderful recipe by introducing flavorings such as citrus fruits and almonds. But how did flan become one of the most popular desserts in Latin America? The Spanish brought the recipe with them when they came to the Americas. Chefs in Latin American have made this sweet treat their own, and today you can find it in many Latin American restaurants.

Not every flan is made the same way. In Mexico, flan might be made with cream cheese, and in Paris it may be cooked like a tarte with the caramel baked in. We’ve fallen in love with the flan we’ve developed for the Smart Cooker, which you can find on the CHEF iQ App!