What Is Flan? How Is It Unique in Different Countries?
Flan is one of those classic childhood dishes many of us crave. Yet what is flan? It’s a staple in Latin American and European recipe books, and its ease of preparation makes it a big hit with home cooks.
What you may not know about this dessert is that chefs have been creating twists on it for centuries. Whether adding new ingredients or turning it into a whole new dish, there are many different ways to make flan.
What Is Flan?
Flan is a custardy Mexican dessert made with eggs, milk, and some sweetener. It’s similar to creme brulee or panna cotta, but with a unique mouthfeel. Chefs bake flan in a water bath to get the dessert’s notoriously silky and creamy texture just right.
You’ve probably seen flan on your local Mexican food restaurant’s menu. Maybe it had a thin layer of caramel on top, or perhaps it included a few extra ingredients, but it’s still flan.
Even though the basic ingredients remain the same, no two flans are ever alike. Flan has been around for centuries, allowing plenty of time for different countries and cultures to put their own fingerprint on this classic dessert.
The History of Flan
Flan originated in Rome as a savory dish. It was usually served alongside meat or fish. But when a chef added honey to create a sweet version, the dish exploded in popularity, and cultures worldwide took notice.
The Spanish adopted the recipe and added their own twist. This was the first time sweet caramel sauce was added on top, creating the flan we all know and love.
Flan recipes also made their way to England. As in Spain, cooks created their own twist on the egg-based dish. The English turned flan into an open-top pie, adding dried fruits and nuts to the custard to create a truly unique dessert.
After Spain conquered the Yucatan Peninsula, flan soon became part of Latin American culture. Chefs added coffee, chocolate, and coconut to their flan recipes. Yet, unlike the English, Latin Americans kept the basic recipe and ingredients the same.
Today, flan is a staple among Mexican home cooks and Comida corrida restaurants. Latin American influence has also diffused north, which is why you can find traditional flan in many Mexican restaurants near you.
Taqueria 27’s Mexican Desserts With a Twist
So, what is flan? Flan is an egg-based custard that originated in Rome but has since spread to all corners of the world, including Mexico. Try this globe-trotting dessert on your next stop to Taqueria 27.
Craving a twist on classic Mexican desserts? Visit us at one of Taqueria 27’s five locations and finally fix your sweet tooth!