I used to make flan with coconut milk even before we went vegan. Why? Well, we just loved that coconutty flavor way more. This egg and dairy free flan takes it up a notch, with a smooth coconut custard and spiked with a hint of rum for a tropical twist. And let’s not forget about that rich, caramel sauce! This dessert not only tastes even better than the traditional version, but it’s also a whole lot easier to make.
Traditional flan, or creme caramel, is made by combining eggs, milk and sugar, and slowly cooking it in a water bath in the oven, until the eggs coagulate in a firm texture. Instead of eggs, we are going to be using agar agar as the binding agent for our rich and creamy vegan flan.
Agar is made from red algae, is tasteless and odorless, and is an excellent vegan alternative to gelatin, and perfect for thickening custards, jellies and sauces. Agar needs to be boiled for 5 minutes to be activated and set properly. This totally works in our favor, because it means our vegan custard only needs a few minutes to cook on the stove, instead of messing around with a fussy water bath in the oven for an hour. Plus, there is no need for tempering since there is no danger of ending up with a scrambled egg custard.
Making caramel for flan is a simple process, but it can also be a tad tricky. Once you master the art of making the caramel, though, this vegan flan is a breeze to make. Here’s a couple of tips to help you make delicious caramel sauce for your vegan flan:
Please remember that working with caramel can be dangerous due to the high temperature. Take necessary precautions and handle it with care.
In order to prevent crystallization, do not stir the sugar syrup. If you need to blend in any dark spots into the caramel, simply swirl the pan around gently.
Don’t walk away from the pan, as the caramel can burn very quickly.
When it reaches your desired color, work quickly (and carefully) to pour it into the ramekins. Keep in mind that the caramel will continue to cook and get darker after you take it off the heat.
As we mentioned earlier, agar needs to be boiled for about 5 minutes to be activated. At this point, the custard won’t be super thick, more like the consistency of cream.
After you’ve poured the custard into the ramekins, put them in the fridge to let the flan set. The agar will set pretty quickly, but I highly recommend that you make the flan the day before. That way, the caramel and custard have more time to mingle, to enhance the flavors, and create a truly mouthwatering combo.
We think you’ll love this, too!
Tropical Coconut Flan
- 4 – 4 oz ramekins
- ½ cup organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups coconut milk
- ¾ cups plant based milk I used full-fat Oatly oat milk
- 2 tablespoons organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon agar agar powder
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons rum optional
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a saucepan. Turn the heat to high and cook the mixture undisturbed until it turns an amber color. (Avoid stirring the mixture to prevent crystals from forming.)
- Keep a close eye on the mixture as it caramelizes, as it can quickly go from amber to burnt. If there are some dark spots in the caramel, gently swirl the pan to blend and ensure even coloring.
- Once the caramel reaches the desired amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat immediately to prevent burning.Working quickly and carefully, pour the hot caramel into your flan molds.Allow the caramel to cool and harden before pouring in the custard mixture.
- Combine the coconut milk, oat milk, sugar, salt, cornstarch and agar agar powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes until the custard thickens slightly. The custard will not be very thick at this point. It will look similar to cream.Remove from heat and add the vanilla and rum (if using).
- Make sure that the caramel has hardened, and pour the custard into the four ramekins.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight, so the custard sets completely.
- To remove the flan from the molds, slide the tip of a knife around the edge of the molds to loosen the custard, and flip onto individual servings plates.