I ate flan, Spanish flan to be exact, for the first time over 3 years ago in a tiny wine & tapas restaurant here in Helsinki, called Kombo Winebar & Kitchen. I went there with my friends Minni and Alli, they were going to celebrate the birthday of one of their friends and I tagged along. I didn’t eat any of the tapas as I was there already with full stomach but I ate the flan and it was a life changing experience. So tasty, so beautiful, so light it was. After that, I got obsessed with flan…
It was the time when I couldn’t yet find easily the Finnish name of most of the ingredients or where they are sold. It was the time when I made a big mess of not-so-tasty experimentations quite often (I still make accidents or disasters in kitchen of course, but not so often anymore luckily..). So to find the recipe of that wonderful taste and the ingredients for it became a big burden for the following few days.
But I had to learn how to make that. I couldn’t think of life without that flan!!! So finally I found the ingredients and I even published the recipe here.
Years later, last spring, when I was preparing for the catering of a Karonkka (PhD defence) dinner of a friend who originally came from South India, I wanted to make a different version of this flan. As coconut is one of the most important ingredients in South Indian cuisine, I made the flan with coconut milk & cream and it became quite a big hit that evening.
This coconut flan is quite sweet – but it is also light and silky smooth so it doesn’t kill you with its sweet taste. It is also beautiful, especially with various toppings (however, it is also very beautiful and tasty without any toppings). It is also quite good to make ahead; it actually takes a while to bake it and then cooling so you’d better make it early in the morning if you want to serve it in the evening.
Enjoy your flangasm!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (Easy)
(makes 1 flan – I made it in a ceramic pie dish, 26cm in diameter)
300 gr. granulated white sugar
2.5 dl. coconut cream
2.5 dl. full fat coconut milk
1 can / 400 gr. condensed milk (You can find this in almost all the markets today, from K-market to S-market and Alepa)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional, I didn’t use it)
Pomegranate seeds etc..
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. In a medium nonstick saucepan, put sugar. On medium heat, by continuously stirring with a wooden spoon, melt the sugar and turn into an amber colour caramel. It will take about 6-8 minutes. Take your time, do not put the heat on high to make it faster because then you can also burn the sugar faster.
3. Once the sugar caramelises, quickly pour it into your mould. By moving the mould around, make sure that the caramel spreads equally to cover the entire base. Do not ever touch the caramel, it will burn your skin immediately and it will burn bad.. Put the mould inside a bigger and deep tray / oven dish and put it aside while preparing the rest.
4. In a mixing bowl, put eggs and beat until it gets light and fluffy.
5. Add coconut cream, coconut milk and condensed milk (and vanilla extract, if using). Beat until it becomes a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture on the mould with caramel.
6. In the bigger dish that you put the flan mould in, pour boiling water. Put the whole thing in the oven, in medium rack and bake for 1/1.5 hour. The flan is ready when the edge is set but the middle is still wiggly. If the water in the bigger dish evaporates while baking, add more boiling water by simply opening the oven door – that big dish should not stay dry and you must keep the steam inside the oven going. Once baked, let the flan fully cool down in the mould for a couple of hours. To serve, gently run a butter knife around the edge and turn it upside down onto the serving plate. Be careful: some of the extra caramel will pour, so do it in a suitable place in your kitchen and choose a serving dish that is not too flat (otherwise the extra caramel will keep dripping from the plate..). Enjoy!