This Coconut Flan Is Way Easier to Make Than It Looks
Tastemade’s new cookbook presents show-stopping recipes in an uncomplicated way.
A staple in Latin American countries, flan might seem like the type of dessert that’s too intimidating to try at home. How do you achieve the right texture? Can I make my own caramel? What the heck is a bain marie?
But the entire point of Tastemade’s new cookbook, Make This Tonight, is to present international recipes in an uncomplicated way. The digital food network has compiled 100 flavorful, globally inspired recipes developed by culinary experts around the world.
“With this book, you’re going to get a delicious meal on the table that’s going to impress everybody—and you’re going to end up making it over and over again,” says Sarah Anne Bargatze, a supervising producer at Tastemade. The book is aimed toward beginners, who are fans of Tastemade’s simple recipe videos that focus on elevating flavor.
Specifically, we encourage you to take your tastebuds on a tropical vacation and start by making the coconut flan recipe included in the dessert section of Make This Tonight. While different countries have their specific way of making flan, Bargatze shared that they decided on a coconut version and took it further by using coconut milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk, and coconut flakes on top. “We call it the triple threat,” she says.
Bargatze describes this dish as flavorful, silky, and delicious. “The sharpness of the caramel pairs well with the richness of the custard,” she says. A key part of the making in this recipe is the bain marie (water bath) technique, which makes sure that the custard is cooked evenly and through perfection with a gentle heat. The reason why you should skip the oven it’s because it would be too strong for the eggs, and that will ruin the silky texture you’re aiming for. “In this case, patience pays off,” Bargatze assures.
The tools required should be things you already have in your kitchen: a 9-inch cake pan or pie plate and a roasting pan. And while it's a very straightforward process, making a flan requires all your attention and some techniques to make sure the flavors and textures come out perfectly. “It’s a good way to introduce anyone to caramel-making and bain marie if they’ve never made them before,” says Bargatze.
As for the coconut custard, the recipe takes it to another level with the star of the show, almond extract. “We [decided to add] the almond extract to give it another layer of toasty nutty flavor that we get from the freshly toasted coconut on top at the end, but in the flan itself,” Bargatze says.
In order to get the silky, smooth texture she recommends: “After you mix the eggs into the coconut mixture, you run it through a sieve before pouring it into the tin to bake.” That way you avoid larger egg parts into the mix to ensure you always get the perfect outcome.
Once you finish, it will benefit from some time in the fridge. Bargatze recommends from six to 24 hours before you turn it out and serve it, which is why you want to make sure to prepare it ahead of time if you’re hosting people over. And while the flan itself is delicious on its own, Bargatze encourages you to enjoy it while sipping a nice cup of coffee.
Coconut Flan Recipe
Yield: One 9-inch flan
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 cups full-fat coconut milk
• 1 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk (see Note)
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 5 large eggs
• 5 large egg yolks
• Hot water
• ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Set a 9-inch cake pan or pie plate inside a roasting pan.
3. In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup of the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil over medium heat—do not stir. Cook, undisturbed, until the caramel is deep copper.
4. Pour the mixture into the cake pan, tilting the pan so the caramel coats the bottom. Return the cake pan to the roasting pan and let the caramel cool slightly.
5. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk, and the remaining ½ cup sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, 3-4 minutes.
6. Watch carefully so the mixture does not boil over. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the salt and almond extract. Let cool slightly.
7. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks until smooth. Add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly, to warm the eggs. Once the egg mixture is warm, stream in the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine.
8. Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the cake pan to cover the caramel.
9. Transfer the roasting pan to a pulled-out oven rack. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come as high up the sides of the cake pan as possible. Bake until the flan is fully set but jiggles slightly in the middle, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
10. Remove the flan from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
11. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the flan before inverting it onto a large platter. Top with the toasted coconut and serve immediately.
Note: They use sweetened condensed coconut milk in this mixture for its rich and creamy coconut flavor—it packs a concentrated punch. If you can’t find it, regular sweetened condensed milk will work, too.