Make Ahead

Pumpkin Flan

November  6, 2010
13 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Makes 1 loaf plus 2 or 3 sidecars
Author Notes

We are a family of flan eaters, all 30 or so of us, so it was just natural that I should start bringing a pumpkin flan to the Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe makes a bit more than will fit in the loaf pan so we generally make a couple of ramekins on the side for, um, quality control. —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

As someone who has made a lot of flan, I was worried at first that the addition of pumpkin would throw the ratios off and that it wouldn't set properly because of too much liquid, but this was surprisingly nice. It had just the right amount of sugar and it wasn't overly sweet. It was still a decadent dessert, and kept true to its flan roots, with a good consistency and sweet profile but with a hint of pumpkin and spice which made for a nice fall dessert. With so many takes on pie during this season, it was a good step in a different direction that I would definitely make again. She was right that the loaf pan definitely needed a soak, but it did eventually loosen! —Sarahgreenbean

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 1/4 teaspoon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • one 12 - ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • one 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 5 large eggs
  1. Get out a Pyrex or metal loaf pan and have it at the ready. Put the sugar and water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Swirl it around and put it over medium heat—if it's a gas stove you want the flames under the pan, not going up the sides at all. Let it bubble and do NOT mess with it. I know you want to stir it, but don't. Trust me. Keep an eye on it though and when it starts to turn golden around the edges you are allowed to stir (see photo for when you can start stirring). Turn the heat down and stir until you get a nice golden color—stop just short of how you want it as it will darken a bit more in the pan. Pour it into the loaf pan and sprinkle it with 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Let it set up - it doesn't need to be hard but it needs to stiffen up some.
  2. Now make the custard: Put the remaining ingredients into a big bowl or in your mixer and whip until it is very frothy. The sugar should be set now. Pour the custard over the sugar, and the remaining custard can go into ramekins.
  3. Place the loaf pan and the ramekins into a larger pan filled with roughly 1 inch of water, then put them into a cold oven. Turn the oven onto 350° F and set the time for a 1 hour and 20 minutes. Depending on your particular oven, it may take a bit longer. Bake until the flan is puffing up around the edges and no longer wobbly in the middle. (The ramekins will be done sooner.)
  4. You can eat the flan warm or chilled (we like it warm). When you are ready, run a knife around the edge of the pan and then place a plate over the top. Quickly flip the whole shootin' match, then get as much of the sugar goo out and onto the flan as you can. Scrape the goodies around the edge of the pan with a spoon and eat them. That is your reward for being the cook. (That loaf pan will come clean—just soak it in hot water until the sugar dissolves.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rbrock1225
  • Barbara Houser
    Barbara Houser
  • Kaite
  • inpatskitchen
  • em-i-lis

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

34 Reviews

NancyJ November 9, 2022
I adore pumpkin pie, but the rest of my family does not. So I made this in the “pre-Thanksgiving test run” stage. It is completely delicious. A few suggestions - would love to know the temp the caramel should be when it’s ready. I overcooked mine and it made a hard sugar crust in the bottom of the pan, but it was not burned. Perhaps because I used organic sugar and it was difficult to tell when the color was correct. Just chopped out the sugar crust, no problem and certainly saved some calories in the process. I missed when to add a full teaspoon of cinnamon to the custard and left it out. However, since my family loves spicy with sweet, I did include 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne with the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice and that was a HUGE hit. If you have a longer loaf pan, the “loaf-and-a-half” size, the custard fits perfectly with no overage.
aargersi November 10, 2022
I should have mentioned in the recipe! The hard sugar is normal / expected. It forms the caramel that’s on top when you flip the flan (some stays in the pan but it soaks out easily) - as for temp, well I go by sight, and stop just shy of how dark I’d like the caramel to be. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Patti D. October 27, 2022
I haven't made this recipe, but it seems quite close to the one that Ive been using for at least 40 years. I love it and it saves a few crust calories.
rbrock1225 October 27, 2022
Nice recipe, but a few comments.

Not all Pyrex is safe to use on the stovetop. Unless it explicitly says it's safe to use on the stovetop, don't use it -- it can break. This is also true for the older Pyrex pieces (they changed the type of glass used in the late 80's). Similarly, Pyrex should not be put under the broiler.

I love Pyrex, have a bunch of it, so I'm not discouraging its use. Just not on the stove.
aargersi October 27, 2022
The pyrex is not actually over open flame, you make the caramel in a saucepan and pour it into the pyrex, which then goes into the oven!
Barbara H. October 3, 2019
When I think of cobbler, I dont think of the crust on top, reverse pumpkin pie. I am going to try this for something different. I make a pumpkin cobbler and it is delicious. That crumble buttery topping, be brave and use toffee bits and candied crushed pecans on top when you bake it. Even better.
Everyone that has had it loves it. The best thing is eating it warm with whip cream on top.
Carolyn November 25, 2016
I'm making this recipe for the second time, it's so good !
We prefer to serve it chilled with a dollop of whip cream. It's like pumpkin creme caramel.
Jenny B. November 23, 2016
The recipe says one 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk and one 14-ounce can evaporated milk, but evaporated milk comes in 12-ounce cans and condensed milk in 14-ounce cans. Is this backwards in the recipe?
aargersi November 23, 2016
oops! yep - use one can of each. I made mine last night!
ghainskom November 25, 2015
This was de-li-cious. Thank you!
clintonhillbilly November 22, 2015
I've made this recipe and it was quite good--mine definitely came out with a flan texture and not a pumpkin pie texture.
Kaite November 22, 2015
I was a little disappointed in this. While it does taste really good, it has the exact same texture of pumpkin pie. Maybe I did something wrong? To me this is just pumpkin pie, in loaf form, minus the crust. If you like pumpkin pie you will like this. If you like flan, you may be a little bummed.
aargersi November 23, 2015
Kaite it sounds like not enough egg maybe? I get L / XL at the farmers market - did you use all 5? Were they large?
Kaite November 25, 2015
I did use all 5 eggs. Looking back I think the problem was with the condensed milk and evaporated milk. The sizes listed above threw me off as condensed milk comes in 14oz cans and evaporated in 12 oz. I just did the one can of each. All in all though it still is very tasty. We've been munching on it for breakfast :)
inpatskitchen November 9, 2015
This looks AWESOME!!!
em-i-lis November 9, 2015
HOW have i never seen this before?!??!? I cannot wait to make and devour this!
Aliwaks February 22, 2011
There is an errant can of pumpkin in my I have a plan
vfronstin November 22, 2010
What ounce size cans of condensed and evaporated milk?
My store carries a small can and larger can for both?
Can't wait to try.
aargersi November 22, 2010
Hi there! The sweet / condense is 14 oz and the evaporated is 12 oz, which is funny because the evoprated milk can looks bigger but I guess because the other is condensed it's heavier ... good luck I hope you like it!!!
clintonhillbilly November 10, 2010
Sounds awesome, I'll make it for Thanskgiving this year!
Margy@hidethecheese November 9, 2010
This sounds delicious.
theyearinfood November 8, 2010
I love pumpkin flan!
Midge November 7, 2010
Sounds and looks outrageously tasty.
adamnsvetcooking November 7, 2010
When I read the title of this recipe I said to my self "OH NO"!! You managed to combine 2 of my favorite things together! And right now I am thinking to myself : "Forget midterms ...It pumpkin flan time!!"...I knew I should have hold of on going to FD52 and checking out the new recipes, I knew I was going to get myself in trouble ....
aargersi November 7, 2010
You can throw this together in no time, study while it is baking, and them eat some right before your test for BRAIN POWER!!!!
edamame2003 November 7, 2010
I was thinking I may have to do a theme night and make the paella and this delicious looking flan...then realized you are the reason I have been driving around town all day in search of beef cheek for your barbacoa beef cheek tacos! thank you so much for all the great recipes--I can't wait to try all of them!
aargersi November 7, 2010
Why thank you! What a nice thing to say! If you can't find beef cheeks (they are in every store in Texas but I guess not everywhere?) you can sub beef short ribs.
edamame2003 November 7, 2010
hi abbie--thank you for the suggestion. I am marinating the short ribs now!
mrslarkin November 6, 2010
wowee!!!! Looks delicious!!