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caramel flan on a plate with caramel sauce and vanilla pods on top.
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Vegan Creme Caramel (Flan)

A deliciously creamy vegan creme caramel recipe with a "melt in your mouth" consistency and flavors of deep caramel and fragrant vanilla. This impressive flan ​makes the perfect vegan dessert for dinner parties or special occasions.
Course Dessert
Cuisine French, SPANISH
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 (6 x small 180ml) or (4 x large 240ml) servings
Calories 338kcal

Equipment

  • 4 x 240ml OR 6 x 180ml Porcelain Ramekins

Ingredients

Caramel sauce

Custard

Instructions

  • I highly recommend reading through the tips in the blog post above and reading over this recipe a couple of times before getting started for success.

Caramel

  • Place 4 large (240ml) or 6 small (180ml) ramekins on a tray and set aside.
  • Add the water and caster sugar to a saucepan and place on it a low heat. Stir the mixture with a spoon for several minutes until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn up the heat to medium-high and DO NOT TOUCH OR STIR IT from this point on. Keep a very close eye on the saucepan, the mixture will start to boil and bubble. After several minutes it will start to turn a light caramel color in places. Very gently swirl the pan so that it caramelizes evenly. Once the caramel turns a deep amber color, remove it from the heat.
  • Distribute the caramel between your ramekins, working quickly as it will set very fast. Allow the caramel to come to room temperature and harden (about 30 minutes).

Custard

  • Add the almond milk, caster sugar, cornflour, and agar-agar powder to a saucepan and place on it a low heat. Whisk vigorously for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to a saucepan along with the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and salt.
  • Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, while continuously whisking. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, the custard will start to thicken. Make sure you are constantly stirring the custard to avoid it burning to the bottom of the pan. I recommend alternating between a whisk and rubber spatula.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any large particles from the vanilla pod. Allow it to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. Every 5 minutes, whisk the custard to prevent a skin from forming on top of it.
  • Distribute the custard between the ramekins and smooth out the tops using the back of a spoon. Cover them with clingfilm before placing them in the fridge. Refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

De-molding the creme caramels

  • Just before serving, very carefully run a sharp knife about 1 inch deep around the inner edge of the ramekins to loosen the custard. Be careful not to go deeper as this can ruin the smooth appearance of the flan.
  • Place a serving plate on top of one of the ramekins and quickly turn them over. Very slowly start to lift the ramekin, you should be able to hear a "slurp" as the creme caramel unmolds itself.

Storage

  • These vegan creme caramels are best served within the first 1-2 days once they have been set. Do not remove them from the ramekins until just before serving. I recommend making them the day/night before you serve them.

Notes

  • Coconut milk: Refrigerate the cans of coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the cans. This recipe will need 2-3 400ml cans, depending on which brand you use (I find Biona has the best yield of cream)
  • Agar-agar powder: ¼ teaspoon will give a barely set silky smooth creamy consistency which I personally prefer. If you are looking for a slightly more set flan you could use ½ a teaspoon. I have not tried it, you could likely use another vegan gelling agent (carrageenan, vegeset), although I cannot recommend the quantity for alternatives as all setting agents have different potencies. 
  • Almond milk: If you want to make this flan nut-free, you can use soy milk or coconut drinking milk in its place.

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg