The best recipe for traditional egg custard (and the tricks to make it perfect)

There was a time when egg custard was the king of dessert cards in (almost) every restaurant in the country. Finishing off a meal with a custard and cream was chic. But other desserts came like the cheesecake, the brownie or the tiramisu, they gained ground and the flan fell into oblivion.

Fortunately for his fans the tables have turned and the egg custard is no longer that vintage dessert with little glamor. "We are witnessing an unstoppable ascent", says food critic Jose Carlos Capel, "there is a new generation of flans that has been illustrated with subtle touches."

This humble dessert is being fine-tuned by confectioners from many fine dining restaurants. In some versions, milk is exchanged for cream or a mixture of both, in others only yolks are used or condensed milk is incorporated, and in the more exotic versions, freshly laid blue shell eggs from Araucan hens are used.

The tricks to get a perfect egg custard

Among so many new proposals we claim the traditional egg custard recipe, origin of all current versions. We resorted to the recipe that was taught to us at the School of Hospitality, which defines it as a egg, milk and sugar smoothie, which is introduced into caramelized molds and coagulates in the oven in a water bath.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the definition, because making an egg custard as the canons command has its own. It is not impossible, but it is advisable to take into account certain aspects and apply the tricks so that your flans are perfect.

The first thing to keep in mind is that a flan with holes is a poorly executed flan. So that this does not happen it is essential not to beat the mixture but to stir until all the ingredients are integrated. If we beat, we incorporate air and if we incorporate air, holes come out, so avoid it.

Baking is done in a water bath and in the oven. It is not necessary to cover the flan, although it must be ensured that the water does not bubble up or splash inside the molds. For this, the eggshells that we have used can be placed on the water.

Caramel must give the flan a slight touch of flavor and color, but you must be careful with the amount used. Covering the base with a thin layer is sufficient. Less is more.

The oven temperature must be constant, 180 ºC. Each oven is a world, so you may have to do a test at home and adjust it a little. Once the cooking time has finished, it is important to remove the molds from the water bath and leave the flan to sit for 24 hours (in the fridge) before consuming.


For 8 units
  • Whole milk (better if it is fresh) 500 ml
  • Sugar 125 g
  • Egg "M" 3
  • Lemon or orange peel 1
  • Cinnamon stick 1

How to make traditional egg custard

Difficulty: easy
  • Total time 40 m
  • Elaboration 15 m
  • Cooking 25 m

We heat the milk with the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick. When it starts to boil we remove it from the heat and let it infuse while cooling for 30 minutes.

Mix the eggs with the sugar, stirring gently and without beating. Add the milk and gently stir until the sugar has dissolved. We pass the mixture through a fine strainer.

We cover the base of the flaneras with a thin layer of liquid caramel. We fill them with the mixture, carefully and slowly so as not to incorporate air, and place them in a baking dish. Fill the source with a finger of water and put it in the oven, preheated with heat up and down, at 180 ºC.

We cook for 25-30 minutes or until, when a needle is inserted into the flan, it comes out dry. We remove the molds from the oven. We wait for them to warm up before putting them in the fridge and letting them rest for 24 hours.

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