A classic ultra Creamy Lavender Flan Recipe bursting with aromatic flavor.
I’ve never really been a big fan of flan… Until now.
I enjoyed other types of custards, and cream-based desserts. Yet flan’s typical eggy flavor and jello-ish consistency have always been a little troubling to me.
One evening, The Lt. Dan and I went out on a dinner date with some friends to an up-scale Latin restaurant in town.
We had a lovely dinner of braised lamb chops and perfectly stuffed poblano peppers, swimming in a pool of creamy mole’. The food, company, and conversation were delightful, leaving the promise of dessert as the only thing that could improve upon the evening.
There were several desserts on the menu, but the item our waiter unabashedly promoted was the flan. He was so convinced we would not be disappointed, that I felt it was time to give flan a second chance.
Second chances are a beautiful thing, you know.
Trying to be open-minded, I resolved to hope that maybe my tastebuds had developed an appreciation for flan, or maybe I’d suddenly enjoyed eggy desserts.
I waited in anticipation as the waiter set the small plates between us. At first bite, I knew this was no ordinary flan. Light and creamy. Mellow and smooth. Not heavy, jello-y, or eggy at all! The caramel sauce was light as well, without the singed aftertaste that caramel can acquire when one is not careful. Incredible.
I was instantly a flan fanatic… A flanatic!
I set off to find or create the very best flan recipe.
Test One: Half whole milk, half cream, whole eggs and extra yolks.
Result: Disaster! An eggy mess. Phlck!
Test Two: Condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole eggs only
Result: Disaster again, followed by light swearing. Some how even more eggy than the first run.
Test Three: Condensed milk, introduction of a little cream cheese, whole eggs, with extra yolks again.
Result: Slight improvement. Not thrilled, but not swearing.
You get the idea.
After quite a few tries I finally came up with a flan recipe worth eating and sharing.
I discovered that extra yolks improve the texture and taste. The whites are what creates the egginess! Also cream cheese gives the flavor a little punch. After multiple trails I had a flan recipe that is close to the one that first struck my heart and tastebuds.
Over time the classic flan has morphed into my go-t0 Creamy Lavender Flan Recipe. I love the gentle herbaceous note of summer blossoms perfuming the flan.
Good flan takes time, but it is totally worth it. If you are serious about creamy desserts (custard, pudding, panna cotta, creme brulee, flan) this Creamy Lavender Flan Recipe is worth your effort!
Creamy Lavender Flan Recipe
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Set out 6-8 ovenproof custard cups, soup cups, or large ramekins that will hold at least 6 ounces each. Add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a sauce pan and place over medium-high heat. Allow it to come to a light boil and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Place the evaporated milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the lavender to the milk and allow it to come to a simmer. Simmer the milk for one minute, then turn the heat off and let the lavender steep in the milk until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, watch the caramel. Once the color starts to change, it goes fast. Allow it to bubble until it is a light to medium brown. Quickly pour an equal amount of liquid caramel in each cup. Be very careful—hot sugar can cause serious burns! The caramel will harden up almost instantly.
- Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy. You may want to warm it in the microwave for just a few seconds to make sure it’s really soft. With the mixer still running, add one egg at a time, to allow the mixture to fluff up as much as possible. Now add the vanilla and salt. Then with the mixer continually running, slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk and the evaporated milk with lavender. Whisk until smooth.
- Set the custard cups in a larger baking pan, lined with a clean dish towel. Fill the pot used for the caramel with water. Bring to a boil.
- Use a sieve to strain the lavender and any clumps out of the flan mixture. Then pour the mixture equally into each cup. Carefully fill the large pan with boiling water until it comes half way up the sides of the custard cups. Cover the whole pan loosely with foil.
- Bake for 40-70 minutes. The cook time depends heavily on the size and depth of your custard cups. Check at 40 minutes, then add 10 minute increments until done. The flan is done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool them to room temperature, then cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve: Run a paring knife around the edges of each flan cup. Cover with an inverted dessert plate and flip. Give it one good shake if necessary. The flan should come out with a light caramel sauce over the top! Serve alone or with berries.
Make up to 1 week ahead, and leave in cups until ready to serve.