Recipe: Coconut Flan - Bánh Flan Dừa

By Helen Le Published: April 28, 2018

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Ready In: 60 mins

  • Yield: 10 (3-4 Servings)

Flan or Crème caramel is one of the foods brought to Vietnam by the French I suppose. It is rich, creamy and delicious. Here in Vietnam, sometimes black coffee is poured on top to give it a nice aroma. It is known as bánh caramel, caramen or kem caramel in northern Vietnam or bánh flan or kem flan in southern Vietnam

  • First of all, butter the molds, so it is easier to remove the flan later. You can use ceramic ramekins or plastic molds .
  • Then we make the caramel. In a small saucepan, add 100g (1/2 cup) sugar and 1 tbsp water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir. Only swirl the pan once in a while to melt the sugar. When it is melted, lower the heat and watch the caramelization process closely. The color gradually changes to amber. Turn off heat and add 1 tbsp lime juice.
  • Quickly pour to the ramekins to coat the bottom of each one with a thin layer of the caramel. It’s extremely hot and the caramel hardens very fast, so handle quickly with care please.
  • To make the custard mixture, crack the eggs in a large bowl. You need 3 eggs and 2 yolks. Egg whites make flan firmer and bouncier; egg yolks make it richer and softer. So this ratio gives a nicely soft and rich flan to my preference. If you want your flan to be more on the firm side, you can use 5 whole eggs. Mix gently with a balloon whisk or a fork, making sure it always touch the bottom of the bowl This is to prevent creating bubbles.
  • Then add the sweetened condensed milk, coconut cream and milk. You can also use coconut milk to replace coconut cream if not available. If you prefer making normal flan instead, use heavy cream to replace coconut cream.
  • Next,add vanilla extract and stir well till homogenous. Then pour to a pourable jug through a sieve to get a smooth mixture. Pour into ramekins or plastic molds. Cover with lids or pieces of alum foil.
  • Fill the base of your steamer with 2 cups of water. Arrange the custard molds in the steamer compartment. Turn on high heat to bring the water to a boil. Steam on high for 5 minutes and then turn the heat to low and steam for another 10-15 minutes depending on the size and material of the molds. To prevent the mold from dancing in the steamer and creating bubbles, you can line a towel underneath to stabilize them. Making you check on them during the last 5 minutes to avoid over cooking the flan. Overcooked flans has bubble dots around the surface which is still fine to eat but they are not perfect.
  • When you insert a toothpick or bamboo skewer into the center and it comes out clean (and not coated with the wet custard mixture) it’s done. It still a bit bouncy in the middle when you jiggle it. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge before serving.
  • To unmold, run a paring knife along the egdes and place the ramekin upside down onto a plate to let the flan pop out. To serve, ou can drizzle some coffee or coconut sauce over the top as many Vietnamese do. I like to top it with some shaved ice to have it really chilled.