Monday, October 25, 2010

Vegan Flan

My brother used to date a lovely Brazilian woman named Ana who always brought the most scrumptious flans to family events. I’ve never made flan let alone a vegan flan so I’m really excited for my little experiment this week. In preparation, I read a few recipes on the web and since they were all fairly similar I decided to combine my favourites into the following recipe.

I had a few problems with the caramel. At first, the sugar wouldn’t melt so I turned the heat up to high which resulted in a bunch of hard clumps that wouldn’t dissolve no matter how hard I tried to mash them out ( I think this is my fault for not stirring enough, I got distracted by the computer). I added a few tablespoons of water which may have helped with the consistency but after stirring and stirring I gave up and just strained the syrup into the pan. Instead of using individual ramekins, I poured the caramel and custard into a round cake pan.

I must admit to being disappointed with the flavour and consistency of this dessert.  The flan set well but was too gelatinous and not creamy enough for my taste.  I also didn't enjoy the soy flavour of the custard and will replace the soy milk with coconut milk in my next attempt.  I'm happy I gave this a try even though it was not as fantastic as the flan in my memory.  I'm determined to make it better.

Vegan Flan

For the Caramel:

¾ cup of sugar
3 tablespoons water (approximate)
Melt the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the syrup coats the back of a spoon and it’s a lovely golden brown colour. I think you should stir it fairly constantly but obviously I’m no expert! Pour the caramel into the bottom of the pan or ramekins, whatever you are using.

For the Custard:

2 cups of unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon agar-agar flakes
½ cup silken tofu
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Heat the soy milk and agar-agar flakes in a sauce pan until boiling and then reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the agar-agar has dissolved.

Place the soy milk mixture, tofu, sugar, vanilla and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth.  Pour over top of the syrup and refrigerate until cool. To remove, slide a knife around the perimeter of the cake pan and lightly shake side to side. If the flan doesn't loosen, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for about 15 seconds, then turn over onto a plate.  Eat it up!

Now turn your attention to Kathryn's creation this week over at the hedgehog in the kitchen.   She was inspired by a picture book to make pumpkin soup.

And joining us for the first time from Mexico City, please welcome Kika who has made an appealing looking corn bread.   Her blog is called come compa and she is posting in both Spanish and English. 

I can't wait to see what everone is cooking up next week!


  1. Well, the helper is adorable anyway! Did M. like it?

    So, the flan at my local vegan organic Mexican restaurant, Gracias Madre, is wonderful! I happen to know that they use almond milk. So, you might try that too. Their caramel has coffee in it, I think, and is delicious too, but it's a thin sauce.

    Good for you for making something not simple, a flan!

  2. I was going to suggest adding a bit more flavor to it, maybe nutmeg, as well as almond milk as Lisa suggests. And, stay on task for something this complicated, Lee!

    She is a beautiful little helper! :)

  3. Welcome, Kika! So happy you're joining us!!!

    And, Lee, congratulations on trying the flan--that always seems like such a challenging thing to make,as a result, I've never tried it. I hope your next attempt will be even better (though this one LOOKS fabulous!) and the coconut milk sounds like a great idea. Cheers!

  4. Maggie is such a doll! I just want to hug her!

  5. Joy, come on over and give her a big hug anytime!

  6. Thanks for all the suggestions about improving the flan everyone. :-) I will definitely give it another go.