Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brazilian Flan

We are always eager for any excuse to have a dinner party these days. Since my husband lived in the Amazon for a couple of years, he still jumps at every chance to practice his Portuguese. Having made a few Brazilian friends, we decided to have them over and take a stab at making authentic Brazilian food.

The center of our meal was feijoada, the thick and meaty black bean stew that Brazilians eat over rice. Replete with chunks of cooked pork and coins of linguica sausage, our feijoada (based on this recipe) was still a meat-lover's dream despite our omission of carne seca and chorizo. We chose to leave them out so that we would still fit into our pants at the end of the night, and happily the Brazilians still declared it "real feijoada".

For dessert, we served Brazilian flan, which is denser that other versions and always includes sweetened condensed milk. One native of Sao Paulo informed us that you can tell a quality flan from the holes in the sides of the flan. Ours was a hole-y offering indeed: delicate with a sweet caramelized sauce. It seemed strange as I read the recipe to bake a custard for 90 minutes, but it came out just right. Flan: Time consuming but simple and delicious. Enjoy!

Brazilian Flan

1 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 (14oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 Eggs
2 Cups whole milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small pan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil rapidly until a light golden color. (This may take around 20 minutes.) Pour sugar into the pan of your choice; any basic pie pan will do. Coat the bottom and sides of your dish and let cool.

In a bowl, mix condensed milk, eggs & milk together. Add the vanilla now if you would like. Mix batter well & pour mixture into the caramelized sugar-coated pie dish.

Place dish in large roasting pan or baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of pie dish. The flan shouldn't float. Bake flan in water bath for 90 minutes, until set in center. Let cool, then cover and chill overnight. The flan can be made a couple days ahead.

To serve:
Run a knife around the edges of the flan to loosen. Place a serving plate that's a little bigger than the pie pan on top of the pie pan, and flip upside down. Gently remove the pie pan and cut the flan into sliced portions to serve.


  1. Ah the great philosophical question of the ages...what is flan?

  2. Lucky you, to experiment and have such success the first time around. Bravo!


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