Flan (creme caramel)

29 Oct
Creme Caramel recipe

Narda Lepes’s delicious flan (creme caramel) recipe

Flan is certainly a favourite dessert amongst Argentines. Often served alongside a dollop of squirty cream and another of dulce de leche (boiled condensed milk for those who have not stepped foot in Argentina), there is not yet a single menu that I’ve come across here in BsAs that doesn’t contain this classic sweet dish.

Also known as crème caramel in English speaking countries, flan is delicious and really not so difficult to make (plus it makes a great light dessert following a heavier meal, such as a casserole for example). Whilst most Argentine chefs cover this recipe in their cookbooks, I’ve chosen to take Narda Lepes’ rendition. I’ve actually halved all the ingredients in this recipe and used a bread loaf mold to make this (this makes enough for about 4 generous portions) but if you’re serving this to a lot of people then you are best to go with the full list of ingredients and a round 26cm mold. For simplicity and clarity, below I have referred to the ingredients and recipe exactly as they appear in Narda’s book ‘Comer y pasarla bien, Narda Lepes’.


1 1/2 cups sugar (for the caramel)

1 litre milk

1 vanilla pod (or a few drops of vanilla extract)

5 eggs

5 egg yolks

200g sugar (for the custard)


1. To make the caramel, pour 1 1/2 cups of sugar into a pan and place on a medium heat. Wait for the sugar to turn to a caramel colour. Narda warns that caramel can burn very quickly so be careful and keep a close eye on this. (I found that the process takes 3-5 minutes – this will vary depending on the size of the pan, first the sugar changes colour and then the ganuals dissolve and the mixture starts look smooth, and of a caramel liquid consistency.) Once you have a caramel liquid pour this into the bottom of the mold you’re using and set aside until it has cooled down and solidified.

2.  Score a vanilla pod down the middle and scape out the seeds. Put these (or a few drops of vanilla extract if using this instead) into a pan with a litre of milk and gently warm over the hob. Leave this for a few minutes so that the milk takes on the vanilla flavour and starts to change colour.

3. In a separate bowl gently whisk the 5 eggs, 5 egg yolks and 200g sugar (when I halved the ingredients I actually used 3 full eggs and 2 egg yolks).

4. Add the milk to the egg mixture, a little at a time, and keep stirring until all the milk has been incorporated (I used an electric whisk for this but a hand whisk will also do the job). Then pour this custard liquid into the mold.

5. Heat the oven to 160C.

6. Place the flan mold into a deep baking tray and pour water into the tray, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the dishes (this is called a bain-marie) and place into a preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. Narda suggests placing the mold into the tray, placing this in the oven and then using a measuring jug to pour the water into the tray as this makes it a little easier to manouver and I agree!

7. Once the flan is cooked (test by placing a knife through the middle, this should come out clean) take the mold out of the oven and the water and let it cool. (Mine actually took a little longer to cook as the temperature of the oven went lower than 160C on a couple of occasions. In the end it took about 65-70 minutes)

8. Once the mixture is completely cool run a knife round the edge of the mold and then turn the mold upside down and push out the flan onto a serving plate. If the caramel is stuck at the bottom, try placing the mold over the cooker for a few seconds to melt. (If you’re using a rubber mold, as I did, then try placing the bottom of the mold over some hot water).

9. Cut into slices and serve.

Corinne’s tips and serving suggestions:

I used a rubber mold and I would probably recommend sticking to something metal because when turning the mold upside down to release the flan the rubber mold is not firm enough so it’s easy for the flan to brake and crack (as mine did). Try serving this with a dollop of dulce de leche if you fancy something sweet (or want to stick to what is truly authentic in Argentina), with some raspberries or simply on its own.

This recipe has been taken from Narda Lepes’ book ‘Comer y pasarla bien, Narda Lepes’

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