Having a sweet tooth myself, one of my absolute favorite Vietnamese desserts is banh flan, also known as Vietnamese creme caramel. The luxurious texture, combined with a perfect blend of sweetness, makes this dessert irresistible. What sets Vietnamese flan apart from its French counterpart is the caramelized sugar sauce that adds a slightly bitter taste to balance out the custard’s sweetness. Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of banh flan and discover why it’s become such a beloved dessert worldwide.
Where is flan from originally?
Flan originally comes from Rome, where it was a savory dish often served with meat or fish. However, when a chef added honey to create a sweet version, its popularity skyrocketed. The dish then spread to other cultures, including Spain, which added its own twist to the recipe.
What is Vietnamese flan?
Vietnamese flan is a type of dessert that’s made with eggs, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. What sets it apart from regular flan is the addition of coconut milk, which gives it a distinct flavor and creamier texture. Vietnamese flan is also typically topped with a caramel sauce, which adds a nice contrast of sweetness to the dessert.
How did flan get to Vietnam?
Flan is believed to have been introduced to Vietnam during the French colonial period. The French had a significant influence on Vietnamese cuisine and brought their own dishes and desserts with them, including flan. Over time, flan became popular in Vietnam and was adapted to include local ingredients and flavors, such as the addition of pandan leaf flavoring. Today, flan is a popular dessert Vietnamese food and can be found in many Vietnamese bakeries or restaurants.
Steamed Vietnamese flan recipe
- Yield: 6 servings
- Prep time: 20 minutes
- Cook time: 40 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour
- Course: Dessert
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- Equipment: Mixing bowls, whisk, saucepan, ramekins or custard cups, baking dish or roasting pan, blender or food processor (optional)
This banh flan recipe you can make at home, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pandan leaf extract (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar until it turns golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Divide the melted sugar evenly into the bottom of 6 ramekins or custard cups. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, vanilla extract, pandan leaf extract (if using), and salt until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins or custard cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way full.
- Place the ramekins or custard cups into a baking dish or roasting pan, and fill the dish with water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins or custard cups.
- Cover the baking dish or roasting pan with foil, and carefully transfer to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the flan is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let the flan cool to room temperature.
- Run a knife around the edges of each ramekin or custard cup to loosen the flan. Invert each one onto a plate to serve.
Serve chilled and enjoy your homemade Vietnamese flan!
See more: How To Make Che Thai?
When is flan done?
Flan is done when it is set but still jiggles slightly in the center when shaken. To check if the flan is done, insert a toothpick or knife in the center of the flan. If it comes out clean, then the flan is ready. It’s important not to overbake the flan as it may become rubbery and lose its creamy texture. Once the flan is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before serving or refrigerating.
Tips and tricks for achieving the perfect custard texture
- Use room temperature ingredients, especially the eggs and milk, will ensure that they blend together smoothly and evenly, resulting in a creamy and smooth texture.
- Strain the custard mixture before pouring it into the ramekins or custard cups will remove any lumps or bubbles, resulting in a smooth and silky texture.
- Don’t overmix the custard because it will become frothy, resulting in a coarse texture. Mix the ingredients together just until they are well combined.
- Use a water bath will help the custard cook evenly and prevent it from curdling or cracking. The water provides a gentle and even heat source, which helps the custard cook slowly and evenly.
- Don’t overbake flan, cause it can become rubbery and lose its creamy texture. It’s important to bake the flan until it is set but still jiggles slightly in the center when shaken.
- Let the flan cool to room temperature or chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour will help it set and develop its creamy texture.
Health benefits of Vietnamese flan
Vietnamese flan is a dessert that is high in calories and sugar, so it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced and healthy diet. Here is a table of the nutritional value of flan based on 1 serving:
|Nutrient||Amount per serving|
|Total fat||9 g|
|Saturated fat||5 g|
|Vitamin D||1 mcg|
As you can see from the table, flan is high in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sugar. However, it is also a good source of calcium and protein. To fit Vietnamese flan into a healthy diet, it’s important to enjoy it in moderation and balance it with other healthy foods. You can also try making adjustments to the recipe, such as using low-fat milk or reducing the amount of sugar, to make it a little healthier.
See more: Pandan Jelly (Thach La Dua)
What can I serve with Vietnamese flan?
Drizzle some brewed Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk over the flan before serving. You can also serve the coffee on the side or use it to make a coffee sauce to pour over the flan. This is the reason why the name “Vietnamese coffee flan” appear.
Some people also like to garnish the flan with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or fresh fruit to add some extra flavor and texture.
Why Vietnamese flan is worth trying?
If you’ve never tried Vietnamese flan, you’re in for a treat. The combination of sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, and caramel sauce gives this dessert a unique and delicious flavor. The creaminess of the flan is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the caramel, making it a dessert that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Vietnamese flan is also a great dessert to serve when you’re entertaining guests. It’s easy to make in advance, and you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd. Plus, it’s a dessert that’s sure to impress your guests and have them asking for the recipe.
Healthy ingredient substitutions of banh flan
Use low-fat milk: Replace the heavy cream with low-fat milk to reduce the fat content of the flan. You can also use a combination of low-fat milk and evaporated milk to achieve a creamy texture without the extra calories.
Use natural sweeteners: Instead of using white sugar, try using natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. These options will add flavor and sweetness to the flan without spiking your blood sugar levels.
Add fruit: Incorporate fresh or cooked fruit into the flan mixture to add flavor and nutrition. Try using pureed bananas, mangoes, or berries to add natural sweetness and fiber.
Use alternative flours: Substitute regular flour with alternative flours such as almond flour or coconut flour to make the flan gluten-free and lower in carbohydrates.
Use egg whites: Replace some of the egg yolks with egg whites to reduce the fat content of the flan. You can use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites to maintain the creamy texture of the flan.
Portion control: Make smaller servings of the flan to help control your calorie intake. You can use mini ramekins or custard cups to make individual servings that are perfect for a healthy dessert.
See more: How To Make Taro Tapioca Pudding?
Vietnamese flan variations
Pandan flan: Pandan leaves, a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking, are used to infuse the flan with a unique flavor and bright green color.
Matcha flan: Matcha powder is added to the flan mixture to create a vibrant green color and subtle green tea flavor.
Chocolate flan: Cocoa powder or melted chocolate is added to the flan mixture to create a rich and decadent chocolate flavor.
Is flan a custard or pudding?
Flan is a type of custard dessert. While some people may refer to flan as a pudding, it is technically a custard because of its ingredients and preparation method. Puddings, on the other hand, are usually thickened with cornstarch or flour and do not contain eggs.
Is Vietnamese flan difficult to make?
Not at all! While it may seem intimidating at first, Vietnamese flan is actually quite easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment, you can have a delicious dessert ready in no time.
Can I use regular milk instead of coconut milk?
While coconut milk is an essential ingredient in Vietnamese flan, you can use regular milk if you prefer. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the flan will be slightly different.
Can Vietnamese flan be made without dairy or eggs?
Yes, it is possible to make Vietnamese flan without dairy or eggs. Here is a recipe for a vegan Vietnamese flan:
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the mixture turns a dark amber color, about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour the caramel into the bottom of 6 ramekins or custard cups.
- In a blender or food processor, blend the coconut milk, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth.
- Pour the coconut milk mixture over the caramel in the ramekins.
- Place the ramekins in a large baking dish and add enough water to the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the flan is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until chilled.
This vegan Vietnamese flan is a delicious alternative for those who cannot consume dairy or eggs. It is creamy and sweet, with a subtle coconut flavor.
How long does Vietnamese flan last in the refrigerator?
Vietnamese flan will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Can I freeze Vietnamese flan?
Yes, you can freeze Vietnamese flan. Just make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container. When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
Why is flan unhealthy?
Flan can be unhealthy if it is made with high amounts of sugar, heavy cream, and eggs. Consuming large amounts of sugar can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Heavy cream is high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease. Eggs, while a good source of protein, can also be high in cholesterol, which can be a concern for those with heart health issues.
Additionally, flan is often served with caramel sauce, which is high in sugar and calories. The caramel sauce used in flan is typically made with white granulated sugar, which is highly processed and lacks any nutritional value.
Which country has the best flan?
The question of which country has the best flan is subjective and depends on personal preference. Flan is a dessert that is enjoyed in many countries around the world, and each country has its own unique twist on the recipe. For example, in Spain, flan is often flavored with cinnamon or lemon, while in Mexico, it is often made with condensed milk and topped with whipped cream. Vietnamese flan typically uses coconut milk and is served with Vietnamese coffee.
Vietnamese flan vs Mexican flan
Vietnamese flan and Mexican flan are both variations of the classic custard dessert, but they have some distinct differences.
|Vietnamese Flan||Mexican Flan|
|Main Ingredients||Coconut milk, eggs, sugar||Condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, eggs, sugar|
|Flavor||Coconut, sometimes with Vietnamese coffee||Vanilla, cinnamon, caramel sauce|
|Texture||Smooth and creamy||Rich and creamy|
|Serving Method||Often served chilled||Often served cold with caramel sauce|
|Cultural Significance||Popular in Vietnam as a dessert and coffee companion||Popular in Mexico as a traditional dessert for special occasions|
|Variations||Can be made without dairy or eggs||May be flavored with other spices, such as nutmeg or cardamom|
While both desserts share some similarities, such as their smooth and creamy texture, they have distinct flavors and ingredients that make them unique. Ultimately, the choice between Vietnamese flan and Mexican flan comes down to personal preference and taste.
Vietnamese flan is a delicious and unique dessert that’s well worth trying. With its creamy texture and sweet, caramel flavor, Vietnamese flan is a dessert that’s sure to please anyone who loves sweets. Whether you’re a fan of traditional flan or just looking to try something new, Vietnamese flan is a dessert that’s well worth adding to your recipe repertoire. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why this dessert has become so popular in recent years?