Coconut flan recipe is a great addition to any recipe box/binder. The preparation can be a bit tricky since it is a dessert that requires a certain amount of babysitting. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to make. If you take your time and follow instructions carefully you will end with with an impressive and delicious dessert.
Flan de Coco – with little flecks of cinnamon and caramel drizzled over it! Que Rico!
( No, I didn’t spill the coffee on the plate. Although it looks a little like coffee.)
By the way, impress your friends and intimidate your enemies with this historical tidbit: flan was a common dish in the Middle Ages, however it was initially served as a savory dish; the sweet dish we know today was developed later. for more information on flan, check out my article on flan history.
Melt the sugar in a pan on the stove.
Once it’s melted get it into the flan pan while it’s still runny – be careful it’s hot and sticky….
Pour the melted caramel into the flan pan ( affiliate link to Amazon for some flan pans – check some out) and roll it around a bit to coat the edges and it will harden.
Combine your ingredients for the custard: Eggs get mixed with sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl and the other wet ingredients ( coconut milk and evaporated milk ) are simmered, and then get tempered into the egg / sugar mixture slowly.
Bake in a water bath for 40-50 minutes until set. Give it the jiggle test to see if it’s set. If it jiggles like jello it’s set, and if it still makes waves to the pan edges it’s still a bit runny. A cake tester works too. 😉
Here are some tips on making a great flan dessert. I have had many questions on making flan and I want to share them with you to help you make this fantastic dish. The first step is to make that caramel and get it onto the flan pan while it is still running before it hardens. Get all your items ready before you start melting the sugar. Once the sugar starts to melt in the pan you need to keep stirring so it won’t burn. As soon as you get that nice golden brown color you are ready to pour it into your flan pan. Tilt the pan every direction and get a nice coating of caramel around the pan but work fast because it hardens quickly. Once the pan is coated you can set it aside and start working on the coconut custard.
So, flan is basically a baked custard and in this variation it has some coconut milk added for that nice extra flavor coconut brings. So yummy! You want to get a very silk smooth texture and that requires tempering the eggs into the hot liquid. So the simmering evaporated milk and coconut milk have to be combined with the egg mixture very slowly so as to not “cook” the eggs. You don’t want a scrambled egg textured flan. Once you have all this combined I like to strain mine and any bits of egg or pieces of the simmered liquid that may have formed small chunks are eliminated from my smooth custard.
Now you can add the custard mixture to the flan pan and place it in your water bath for baking. The water bath is critical for a really slow bake and keeps you from getting that scrambled egg texture. You can use a cake tester to check when it is done but I also like to use the jiggle test to see if it has set. If carefully jiggle the roasting pan, the flan it should jiggle like jello with a firmness when it has set. If you see waves or ripples on the surface, (like when you toss a stone into a pond) it has not set and needs more time. Once it has set remove it from the oven and let it come to room temperature.
Place the flan in the refrigerator for a few hours after it has cooled. Remember that caramel we melted in the pan? That becomes the topping in a way. Yes, flan is kind of an upside down custard. I like to take a very thin small knife with flexible blade and go around all the edges of the pan to get it loose. Once it is loose, I place my serving platter on top and invert it. You will see all that glorious liquid caramel running all over your custard after you flip it. So good! Save this and drizzle it over your flan. Enjoy!
If you love trying ethnic style desserts that are very easy to make here are a few of my favorites:
Polvorones de limón are a Spanish shortbread cookie with a hint of lime and dusted with powdered sugar.
Pistachio rosewater cookies are a Middle Eastern style shortbread cookie with just a floral hint of rosewater.
Tusenbladstarta is a Swedish cake like dessert that is like baking 6 big cookies and layering them with custard cream.
Coconut Flan Recipe
- Be aware of the following: Use only a good quality vanilla extract. The difference is huge.
You will need a round roaster pan to do the water bath in. I normally use a disposable one. It can last up to three or four uses.
- I normally use a flan pan which can also be used for crème caramel (The French’s version of flan). If you do not have a flan pan, a conventional pie plate will be adequate.
- Preheat your oven to 350. Toss ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon with the coconut flakes until they are coated and lightly toast in the oven (about 5 minutes). Remove and set aside.
- In a small saucepan on medium heat slowly melt the sugar stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or a wooden spoon. The sugar should achieve a golden brown caramel color. Once the sugar begins to melt, do not walk away or you might risk burning it. Once caramelized, pour into the flan/pie pan and tilt to cover.
- In a separate saucepan, combine the evaporated milk and coconut milk and slowly bring to a simmer.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, add sugar, cinnamon eggs, salt and vanilla and mix well. Now comes the tricky part: when you temper the hot milk mixture into the cold eggs. This step needs to be done slowly and carefully or your egg mixture will certainly curdle.
- Pour your hot milk mixture into a Pyrex cup with a spout. Slowly, very slowly, pour in small amounts of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until it is fully incorporated. Repeat the process slowly, each time adding small amounts of your hot mixture into the eggs.
When all ingredients are combined, use a strainer to transfer the mixture into the pan you will be baking your flan in. *Place flan pan inside a roaster pan and slowly add warm water. The water level should come up about half ways up the flan pan. Bake until the center sets. You can use a cake tester to check for doneness. Flan should giggle slightly.
- *One important tip: Pull oven rack out and fill pan, this way you won’t have to transport it to the oven and risk dropping it.
- When custard is done, remove from oven and allow it to cool at room temperature in the water bath. This will allow for cooling to take place gradually. You will notice small dark flecks, don’t be alarmed, The flecks are from the cinnamon.
- Once flan is at room temperature place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. To serve your flan, carefully invert onto a larger plate and sprinkle with the coconut flakes.