Pumpkin Flan is a creamy custard desert in a simple caramel sauce with hints of pumpkin and warm spices. It is perfect for Fall, Thanksgiving or if you just want to cosy up to something sweet and creamy.
I first started making this flan in 2010. I was working at a Marketing Agency in New York and coordinated a Thanksgiving potluck. One of my coworkers brought homemade pumpkin flan. It was delicious and had that "abuelita made this" kind of feeling. I wasn't into collecting recipes the way I am now, and never asked her how she made it. Instead I went home and experimented. It tasted so much like baked custard that I used my baked custard recipe and added pumpkin. It was delicious. Over time I added dulce de leche, because once when I was making it that's all that I had. It gave it a rich but overwhelmingly sweet taste, so next go around I just added a ½ cup of dulce de leche instead and it worked. Then I started making the caramel sauce and that is how this pumpkin flan recipe was created.
- Evaporated Milk
- Condensed Milk(use regular condensed milk, I grabbed the wrong can for the photo above and didn't notice until I was editing)
- Dulce de Leche
- Sugar (granulated or brown)
See recipe card for quantities.
Step by Step Instructions for Pumpkin Flan
Follow these few simple steps to make the most delicious and creamy pumpkin flan.
1. Add evaporated milk, condensed milk and dulce de leche milks to a pot on medium heat and simmer until the dulce de leche completely dissolves. Then add the spices.
2. Whisk together the eggs, then whisk in some of the warm milk, to temper the eggs.
3. Add in the pumpkin puree, then all of the remaining warm milk and set aside.
4. Make the caramel, by adding the granulated sugar to a pan on high heat. Cook until sugar caramelizes.
Step 5. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (177 °C)
6. Pour the liquid caramel into a 9X3 inches cake pan. Then swirl around until the caramel coats the pan. Place the pan into a baking dish deep enough to hold water for a Bain Marie.
8. If you sieved the custard into a pot, pour the custard into the 9X3 inches cake pan with the caramel.
7. Pour the flan through a sieve, either directly into the pan with the caramel or into pot our bowl with a spout, so that you can easily pour the strained mixture into the pan.
9. Pour hot water into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the cake pan. You can do this on a counter if you have a pan with handles or carefully in the oven.
Step 10: At this point you may cover the pumpkin flan with foil or cook uncovered. I've found there was no real significant difference in the outcome when I covered it, so I stopped doing it, but traditional flan recipes will say to cover it while it bakes. Bake for 1 hour at 350 °F (177 °C). Then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours.
Step 11: When you are ready to serve the pumpkin flan, run a pointy knife along the sides between the flan and the pan. Invert the flan on a plate and remove the pan
Printable Recipe Card
- 2 15 oz Cans Evaporated Milk
- 1 Can 14 0z Condensed Mil
- ½ Cup Dulce De Leche (Optional)
- 6 Eggs
- ½ Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Grated nutmeg
- ½ cup granulated sugar (may use brown sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C)
- Add evaporated milk, condensed milk and dulce de leche to a sauce pan. Then add to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the dulce de leche dissolves completely, gently stirring to avoid too many bubbles. This should take about 5 minutes. Alternatively before adding the dulce de leche to the other milks, you may microwave the dulce de leche for 30 second intervals until it becomes loose like the condensed milk.
- Remove the milk from the heat and set aside. Then in a small bowl whisk together the eggs. Whisk 2 cups of the milk, one cup at a time, into the eggs. Then combine the eggs and milk mixture with the remaining milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg and gently whisk together. Try not to make the mixture frothy.
- Next have a 9x3 inches round cake pan handy. A spring form pan will not work for this. Then add the granulated sugar in a single layer to a saucepan on high heat. Let cook untouched until the sugar caramelizes and is brown and completely liquid. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes so don't take your eyes off of it. The sugar caramel will start to get bubbly and a little smoky but will be a rich caramel color and completely liquid and pourable. As soon as this happens, immediately pour the caramel into the cake pan, and quickly swirl it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Don't worry if it doesn't cover every inch of it. It will during baking.
- Place the cake pan into another pan deep enough to hold enough water to come half way up the cake pan. Then pour the custard mixture through a wire mess sieve into the cake pan. Straining the flan is done to eliminate air bubbles. You may cover the cake pan with foil or leave it uncovered. This step is optional. I've done it both ways and it didn't make a difference to me.
- Transfer the pan to the oven. Carefully pour hot water into the pan that the cake pan is resting in. Pour enough hot water so that it comes half way up the cake pan. Then bake at 350 °F (177 °C) for 1 hour.
- Remove from the heat and allow the flan to cool completely then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Then run a pointed knife between the circumference of the flan and pan, to free the flan from the sides of the cake pan. Then invert the flan unto a flat plate. Gently wiggle the cake pan free to reveal your beautiful pumpkin flan with the the rich caramel sauce.