I enjoy a good flan every now and then, but if it were up to Nicolas we would eat flan every day. I also like to have a change from the classic vanilla flan and add different flavors to the flans. In Ecuador, especially on the coast, it is very common to find flans made with pineapple, coconut, mango, or other fruit. I’ve mentioned before that when I’m cooking for friends I like to make desserts that are relatively low maintenance and that can be made ahead so that I can focus on the appetizers and main meal; flan definitely falls into this category.
I used freshly made pure pineapple juice for this flan, you have to strain it and then let the foam rise to the top and remove the foam, but if you are in a hurry you can substitute with a good quality store bought pineapple juice, though you might want to reduce the amount of sugar for the flan if the store bought juice already has sugar. I used whole milk for this pineapple flan because I was out of evaporated milk and it worked just fine. Whenever we made any type of flan with my high school friends we always used evaporated milk or condensed milk or a mix of both, I’m not sure why but a lot of Latin American desserts use them. We were talking about this with some friends from Mexico the other day and our guess was that it has something to do with marketing by a certain large Swiss food product company combined with the fact that not even a decade ago refrigerators were luxury items in many places so many dairy products are sold in cans and sealed bags. This recipe makes about 10 small individual flans, you can also use a large flan mold as well, just adjust the cooking time.
2 cups sugar, 1 cup for caramel and 1 cup for the flan
½ cup of water
2 ½ cups pure fresh pineapple juice, strained and foam removed, from 1 pineapple
1 tbs tapioca starch – can also use corn starch
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs rum
10 buttered oven proof ramekins or flan molds
Large oven proof dish filled with water
Serve with: brown sugar and pineapple slices for caramelized pineapple slices
- To make the caramel, bring 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of water to a boil over medium heat and boil until it gets a deep amber color, about 8-10 minutes.
- Pour the hot caramel into the previously buttered flan molds or ramekins and try to distribute it evenly on the bottom of the molds.
- Combine the pineapple juice with the sugar and tapioca starch in a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a boil, keep an eye on it as it is prone to boil over, let simmer until it begins to thicken, about 5-8 minutes, remove and cool completely.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F
- Beat the eggs on low speed; slowly mix in the pineapple mixture, the milk, the vanilla, and the rum until well combined
- Strain the flan mixture and pour into the caramel coated molds.
- Place the flan molds in the oven dish with water – the water should cover at least ½ of the height of the ramekins – and bake until the flans solidify, about 45-50 minutes.
- Let the flans cool completely, then refrigerate for a couple of hour.
- To help release the flans place the ramekins in a bowl with warm water before serving to melt the caramel and loosen the flan.
- Serve alone or accompanied by fresh berries or caramelized pineapple slices – pour a spoonful of brown sugar over a pineapple slice and broil until the sugar begins to bubble and caramelize.