The flan’s vegan custard base was inspired by Deb Perelman’s butterscotch pudding, which uses cornstarch in place of eggs as a thickener. With a few adjustments, I was able to fully veganize her recipe (which has milk and butter) and adjust the flavor and texture to transform it into a simple but delicious flan. This vegan, dairy free, and gluten free recipe makes an easy but elegant dessert that’s well suited to a wide range of dietary needs. It is perfect for the summertime because it doesn’t use the oven, unlike a more traditional flan.
Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat without stirring until deep golden brown. Distribute the caramel into 6 ramekins, making sure it evenly covers the bottom.
Combine coconut oil and 1/2 cup sugar in the same saucepan (don’t worry about cleaning it out). Without stirring, cook on medium heat until the sugar is fully melted and lightly caramelized. This caramel should be lighter than the previous caramel, more like honey.
Once the sugar has caramelized, stir in the cornstarch. When the cornstarch is fully incorporated and smooth, whisk while slowly streaming in the oat milk. Add the vanilla paste and salt. When the flan mixture begins to simmer, continue whisking for two more minutes and then remove from heat.
Pour the flan mixture into the ramekins. Cool in the fridge until fully set, preferably overnight. Just before serving, slide a knife around the edge of the flan to separate it from the ramekin, then place a plate on top. Holding the ramekin firmly against the plate, flip it over and remove the ramekin to unmold the flan. Top with flaky salt just before serving, if desired.