You’re in store for a real treat if you’ve never tried flan! This vegan version is free of dairy and eggs but not short on taste or texture. The coconut custard is topped with a salted caramel sauce. The result is? The result? A coconut custard that looks like cheesecake, covered with a rich caramel sauce. Swoon! What a delicious dessert! Plus, just seven ingredients are required. We’ll show you exactly how to do it!
What is Flan?
Flan is a custard-based dessert that’s topped with a thin layer of caramel sauce. Flan is enjoyed around the globe, but it is most popular in Latin America. It is believed to have originated in ancient Rome. There are many variants, which often contain regional ingredients such as coffee and pineapple juice.
Although flan is typically made with milk, sugar, and eggs, this version is inspired by that concept. It is also plant-based.
Vegan Flan: How to make it?
When we try to create a recipe traditionally made with ingredients that are but not, we know we will be in for a challenging experience. We couldn’t have been happier with the results!
The custard is made with coconut milk, which provides a rich, creamy base. Vanilla and maple syrup give it a bold yet simple flavor. Add a vanilla-infused, salty caramel sauce to the top, and you’ll be in love with it at first bite.
The caramel layer is made by heating coconut sugar, salt, vanilla, and water until they are bubbly. The caramel is added to the flan ramekins prior to the custard so that when the ramekins have been flipped over onto a serving plate, it will be the layer on top.
For the custard, agar (or arrowroot) starch and cornstarch replace the eggs in the traditional flan. Agar is made from red algae (seaweed) and used in desserts throughout Asia. It is rich in fiber (which makes you feel fuller for longer) and thickens when it’s boiled. We’d call that pretty neat. Seaweed, what can you not do??
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Water 1 Tbsp
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Use two tablespoons of cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- Agar agar (powder) 1 tsp
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- We like Whole Foods 365 brand coconut milk in 13.5 oz cans.
- Start by preparing four individual Ramekins. They should have a diameter of 3-4 inches (at the bottom) and a depth of 2-3 inches. Please put them in a convenient place.
- CARAMEL: In a medium saucepan, add the coconut sugar, water, vanilla extract and salt. Turn on the medium-low heat. Set the timer for three minutes and keep stirring constantly. The sugar should dissolve, and the mixture will begin to bubble and thicken. Keep going! Turn up the heat just a little if it’s only bubbling. Or if it’s smelling burnt at all, turn the heat down. Once the timer has gone off, immediately distribute the caramel among your four ramekins (1 heaping teaspoon per ramekin) as soon as it goes off. Set aside.
- CUSTARD: Rinse the same pan with hot water, and then use it to make the custard. Or choose another. Make sure that the pan you select can hold at least 4 cups (950ml) of boiling liquid.
- Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, agar-agar, salt, cornstarch, or arrowroot to the saucepan that has been cooled down (or brought up to room temperature). Whisk together until there are no lumps. Add the coconut milk and whisk until well combined.
- Stir continuously in the pan over high heat until the mixture boils. It should take 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and set a 2-minute timer. Continue to whisk until the timer stops. The mixture should have thickened but still be loose and pourable.
- Distribute the custard evenly between the ramekins and on top of the caramel. Allow the flan to cool for 5-10 mins before transferring it into the fridge. Covered, refrigerate for 3 hours. Cover lightly with foil if chilling longer than 3 hours.
- You can either eat the flan directly from the ramekins using a spoon or remove them carefully by loosening their edges with a knife and flipping them upside-down onto a serving plate. It may be necessary to gently shake and tap the bottom of the ramekins to get them out.
- It is best eaten the first day but can be kept in the fridge for three days if lightly covered. It’s not freezer-friendly.