An Easier Sauce for Flan

August 12, 2013

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Alice shows us how to make a sultry sauce for our flan, without any extra cooking.

Flan on Food52

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Maybe you shy away from making a simple flan or crème caramel because caramelizing the sugar and getting into the little cups before it hardens seems daunting. Or maybe you just want to try something different and sensational.   

Here is a super easy -- possibly even more delicious -- alternative to caramel for the bottom of your flan:

Just prep for your favorite flan or crème caramel recipe, but omit the caramelizing step (or use mine, linked below).  

Instead, (for eight 5- to 6-ounce cups) mix 2/3 cup (gently packed) lump-free dark muscovado sugar (see note) thoroughly with a generous 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Divide the mixture among the cups and press it gently into the bottom of each with the bottom of another cup. Prepare the flan mixture as directed and ladle it as gently as possible (to avoid disturbing the sugar) into the cups. A little sugar may float up to the surface, but it will settle down later. Proceed as directed in the recipe. Chill the flans overnight before serving to allow time for the sugar to liquefy and form a sauce.  

Note: Light and dark muscovado sugars are available in better supermarkets and specialty stores or online. Dark muscovado is the more beautiful and flavorful choice here.

Flan on Food52

Flans with Muscovado Sauce

Adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2012)

Serves 8

3/4 cups firmly packed dark muscovado sugar
3/8 teaspoons salt
5 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups half-and-half

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Alice's most recent book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, doles out delicious dessert recipes that don't take hours of prep (a lot of them don't even require turning on the oven) -- everything from lattice-free linzer to one-bowl French chocolate torte.


Photos by James Ransom


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


boulangere August 12, 2013
3/5 of a cup of granulated sugar?
Kristen M. August 12, 2013
No, that was a mistake -- thank you for asking. Correcting to 3/4 cup now!