There are certain similarities between the two well-known desserts custard and flan, but they are not the same. The only real similarity between the two sweets is that they are both baked desserts created with identical components.
What makes flan and custard different from one another? Custard and flan differ from one another in a few ways. To begin with, custard is a rich, creamy dish prepared from a combination of eggs, cream, or milk. On the other hand, flan is a dish that resembles custard and has a liquid caramel topping.
Continue reading to learn about the distinctions between these two desserts and their distinctive qualities in order to gain a better understanding of them and to expand your culinary expertise.
What Is Custard?
Custard is a creamy, thick delicacy that is mostly sweet but can also be savory. It’s created with eggs (or egg yolks), milk or cream, plus flavorings and sweeteners. Traditional custard is made with simply eggs, however quick and easy recipes can include starch, which not only helps the custard set but also makes it more heat resistant. The consistency of custard can range from gel-like to pourable, depending on what the custard is used for and how it is served.
It also depends on whether the custard is baked in the oven or cooked on the stovetop. Custard can be served on its own, usually warm, but it is also a favorite filling for pastries and baked products; it is especially popular with other warm sweets!
What Is Flan?
The flan dessert is baked in the oven. Eggs, cream or milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and sometimes other flavorings come together to form this custard-based treat. Flan, being an egg-based delicacy that requires a warm oven bake to set, is typically cooked in a water bath. The custard in this delicacy is made even more decadent by the caramel sauce that runs down the sides. Flans often have a custardy, caramel flavor, while additional flavors, such orange, coffee, or coconut, can be added.
How Are Custard And Flan Different?
Custard and flan have comparable ingredients, yet they also differ. Custard and flan are both created with an egg, cream, or milk base with a sweetener, either sugar or honey. Custard is made from milk or cream, an egg or egg yolk, a sweetener, and sometimes a starch to aid in the setting process. Flan is made with eggs, cream or milk, sugars, and various flavorings such as vanilla, coffee, or coconut. Before serving, a layer of caramel sauce is drizzled over the top of the flan.
How They’re Made
On the stovetop or in the oven are the two ways to make custard. A baked custard is a custard that has been baked in the oven as opposed to being stirred on the stove. On the burner, custard must be constantly stirred to prevent the formation of curds. This makes the custard’s consistency more pourable. In order to ensure consistent cooking, custard is frequently cooked in an oven while submerged in water. Typically, custard made on the stovetop is thinner than custard made in the oven.
Similar to how baked custard is cooked, flan is baked in the oven in a water bath to help it cook more uniformly and set. Additionally, it keeps the mixture from curdling. Flan is sometimes prepared in individual-serving ramekins, which are small bowls. The caramel sugar topping for flan is prepared on the stove and then placed into the mold that the custard mixture will later be poured into once it has reached the proper consistency.
How They’re Served
Custard and flan have certain similarities, but one of the most significant differences is how they are presented. Custard can be eaten in a variety of ways, including on its own, either hot or cold, or as a filling for pastries or baked goods. Custard can be served with other sweets like pies and tarts! Flan is typically served on its own – it is a complete dessert that does not require an accompaniment.
Flan is typically prepared in a ramekin or mold, with the caramel sauce on the bottom and the custard mixture on top. When the flan has baked and hardened, this mold is turned upside down and placed on a dish, leaving a solid custard with a caramel sauce on top. While caramel is the most popular taste for flan, it may be offered in other flavors, which means that it can be served with other ingredients such as orange bits, chocolate pieces, or even coconut shavings.
Traditional custard has a sweet, mild, creamy flavor with faint egg hints that is created with egg or egg yolks, whole milk, or cream, and a sweetener. Savory custard has a taste that is a little less sweet and a little saltier than sweet custard. Custard is the ideal companion to a range of meals, both sweet and savory, because it is a delectable delicacy on its own but is yet light and delicate enough to be served with other pastries and sweets.
Because it uses a few more ingredients than custard, flan has a more nuanced flavor. The flavor of the caramel sauce is rich with toasted sugar flavors, although flan has the same sweet, creamy, and mild flavor as custard. The flan topping’s deep, caramel flavor truly enhances the custard base, and its flavor can be compared to that of a creme brulee.
Custard has a smooth, creamy, and rich texture; it should be devoid of clumps and curdles, and it should not be excessively runny or gritty. This smooth, velvety texture is true for custard that has been baked and is thick, as well as custard that has been cooked on the stove and is more pourable. Whatever consistency you choose, your custard should be smooth and velvety.
When made properly, flan should have a custard base that is creamy and smooth, as well as a deliciously silky texture that melts in your tongue. The caramel sauce on top of the flan should be of pourable consistency, but smooth and adhere to the flan.
There should be no lumps or clumps in the flan or the caramel sauce. This is why it should be baked in a water bath to prevent the eggs from curdling and destroying the flan’s smooth smoothness. When the flan is firm to the touch but not fully solid, it has been baked long enough. You should be able to consume flan with a spoon without having to press too hard.
Delicious desserts like custard and flan are both produced with the same components: egg, cream or milk, and a sweetener. However, the two desserts are highly dissimilar from one another and are prepared and served in various ways. A rich, creamy dish that is typically pourable and served with baked goods, on its own (hot or cold), or as a filling for pastries called custard. Either the stovetop or the oven can be used to prepare custard.
Flan is a sweet dish with a custard-like base and a thick caramel sauce topping that is baked in an oven over a water bath until set. Both desserts are rich, creamy, and sweet, making them excellent candidates for DIY preparation.
Now that we’ve learned everything there is to know about flan and custard, as well as the distinctions between the two, here are some extra questions we thought you might have.
Are caramel custards and flan the same thing?
Flan and caramel custards are fairly similar sweets, however the main distinction between the two is how they look. Flan has a truncated custard foundation with a greater diameter than caramel custards, which have a larger custard base.
What is the difference between crème brulée and flan?
Crème brulée and flan are both produced with a soft custard base and topped with caramel. The distinction is that flan has a soft, pourable caramel coating on top, but crème brulée has a firm caramel layer made by broiling or torching the top sugar layer.
What can you eat custard with?
Custard pairs well with a wide variety of sweets. Custard is frequently served with popular sweets including fruit tarts, apple pies, and fruit crumble.