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Pumpkin Flan

This version of pumpkin flan incorporates pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice for a warming custard.

Pumpkin Flan
© The Spruce/ Kristina Vanni

By Kristina Vanni, The Spruce Eats

Similar to crème brûlée, flan is a rich, creamy custard covered in caramel instead of the crisp caramelized sugar topping that creme brulee is known for. Using similar cooking methods to creme brulee, flan is baked with the caramel at the bottom, and when inverted, the golden-colored sauce generously coats the custard, creating a dessert that is also beautiful to look at.

Although there are many recipes for flan, the custard is, in general, made out of a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and spices. Our innovative version incorporates pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and mascarpone, a soft cheese that provides a silky, creamy texture to the flan. The best part is that the custard requires no simmering and is quickly made in the blender. Our maple syrup caramel enhances the autumn flavor profile provided by the pumpkin, and a few pepitas over the top make a beautiful presentation.

The key for cooking flan is the use of a bain-marie, a water bath that creates gentle and steady heat around the pan, resulting in a smooth and even texture. Keep in mind that the time to remove the flan from the oven is when there is still a slight jiggle in the center. If overcooked, flan has a rubbery, unpleasant texture. Make this flan with enough time to chill it in the fridge for at least three hours.


Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Chill: 3 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 45 mins
Serving: 1 wedge
Yields: 8 wedges



Ingredients

For the Caramel

  • : 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup water

For the Pumpkin Custard

  • 1 14-ounce can condensed milk

  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Garnish

  • Pumpkin seeds


Steps to Make It

Make the Caramel

  • Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Combine the sugar, maple syrup, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, swirling the saucepan to dissolve the sugar. Do not stir. Cook at a low boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns a golden-brown hue and registers 230 F on a candy thermometer. Test the caramel for a thread shape if you don't have a candy thermometer.
  • Pour caramel immediately into a 9-inch round cake pan with tall sides. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes while you make the custard.

Make the Flan

  • Combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, mascarpone cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice in a blender. Blend until smooth and well combined.
  • Gently pour the pumpkin mixture into the pan with the maple caramel.
  • Place the cake pan inside a large roasting pan with high sides. Fill the roasting pan with hot tap water until it comes halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 70 to 75 minutes or until the custard is just set and still jiggles slightly in the middle.
  • Carefully remove the flan from the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, cover the flan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen. Invert flan onto a rimmed serving plate, allowing the flan to drop out and the maple caramel sauce to flow over the custard.
  • Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Cut into wedges to serve.
  • Enjoy!

For Best Results

  • To ensure the custard does not overcook, check for doneness after 65 minutes, and then every 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Because the flan is made in a cake pan and not removed until it's time to eat, flan travels well in an ice chest. This makes it an excellent choice if you need to take it elsewhere. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap while en route and un-mold when ready to serve.

See more at The Spruce Eats

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Cake Magazine: Pumpkin Flan
Pumpkin Flan
This version of pumpkin flan incorporates pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice for a warming custard.
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