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
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage https://www.etsy.com/shop/AbbiesGarage?ref=search_shop_redirect