Could someone please explain flan to me

Recently, I started reading some food blogs.  I am SUCH a housewife-in-training, storing the recipes I want to make once I own things like a food processor or a grill and have access to a grocery store that is not Gristede’s and therefore doesn’t charge me $8.99 for pesto.

My favorite food site happens to be foodgawker.  It pulls a bunch of recipes into my reader and from there I scroll through and see what looks good.  Granted, it’ll pull like, 100+ per day so when I skip a day or two (or 5) I end up with 689 unread items.  Whoops.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that it’ll pull in posts in trends.  One week every recipe seemed to have something to do with ramps (a green thing that I still couldn’t fully explain to you except that I think it’s like a leek–another green thing that I couldn’t fully explain to you).  Another week, fiddlehead ferns were in (and they are weirdly creepy and bug-looking if you ask me).  Just this morning I had 3 recipes for  “chipster-topped brownies” (which apparently are just brownies topped with cookies).

But there is one item that seems to be constant on the list.  And it’s one that I can’t, for the life of me, figure out.


I just don’t understand how a food product that looks like this:


is supposed to taste good.  That is gelatinous and speckly and just creepy.  It looks like something you might pull from a person during surgery and need to take great care not to drop because eventually you’re going to need to put it back in.

I’ll admit right now that I’ve never eaten flan so I can’t say whether or not it tastes good.  I just don’t understand it.  Jell-O I get.  Jello is jiggly and sugary and brightly colored and doesn’t look like someone could have sneezed it out or coughed it up:

photo from here.

photo from here.

But flan is…well…the exact opposite of all of those things!

And look, I’m not trying to offend the flan-eaters of the world.  Or even the flan bakers (especially the flan bakers who I borrowed photos from–I swear, I’m not saying your flan doesn’t taste good, I’m just saying it doesn’t look all that appealing).

I’m just asking that someone, anyone, please explain flan to me.


31 thoughts on “Could someone please explain flan to me

  1. “there’s no difference between good flan and bad flan” – a good quote from a very bad movie

    i’m not a fan, it’s definitely a texture thing for me. the flavor is okay, i just can’t get past the texture. now creme brulee, that’s a short delicious dessert i can get behind!

  2. Maxie: See, I can’t say “goo” is a taste I’m ready to experience.

    bourbonmama: At least it’s w/o the lumps. That right there gives it a *slight* lead over tapioca pudding.

    NSJ: I don’t think I could get past the texture either to be honest.

    Ben: Aww, terrible! Although that does remind me of the Friends where Monica makes Rachel a birthday flan and at the end of the episode, after Rachel blows out the candles, the flan gets smashed with a volleyball and she says “wow, those things hardly ever come true!”

  3. yuck! on my 25th bday i was in mexico and flan is very popular there…i got some for free and they sang me a song, so i had to eat it.
    i effing hate flan sooo much
    it’s a texture thing for sure.

  4. Matt: But tell me how you really feel?

    miss. chief: Aww, nothing worse than getting guilted into bad dessert! I hope the singing was at least good.

    amindinmotown: Haha I guess I missed that episode!

  5. It’s not bad if you make it with rum or some other ingredient that may help you forget you spent part of your finite time on earth preparing flan.

  6. Flan is disgusting. BLECH! Yucky! Pe-tewy! I think kids like it because they are used to picking their noses and eating their snot.

  7. Waldo: Can I just drink the rum and skip the flan?

    Lauren: This was a sensitive issue but SOMEONE had to talk about it.

    rs27: I’m not sure either.

    Dingo: That should really make the bottom picture appealing then.

    M.O.L.: Me either. Either way you say it, I don’t like it. If you say “flaaaahn” you sound pretentious and if you say “flaaan” you sound like you’ve got some bad sinus issues (Nanny Fine ring any bells here?)

  8. Personally, I’m also disgusted by flan. I’ve had it a few times — including in Spain — and I just don’t like it. I think it’s a texture thing (at least for me).

  9. I gotta admit, it’s like you found the worst pictures of flan ever.

    Plus, if you look at really good, gooey brownies with an unfamiliar eye, they look like shit; but that’s not indicative of their flavor, is it?

    Flan is basically a custard. Some like it, and some don’t, like everything else in this world.

  10. Are you guys talking about the same kind of flan that I’m thinking of? Flan is pretty amazing to me. Similar to me. Granted between creme brulee and flan the CB is going to win out every time, but a good flan is delicious. It’s not as easy to make as CB though and that may be the problem.

  11. psrobert: Totally agree with you, I’m not sure about what they’re talking about. Maybe it was a bad experience. But flan is delicious, one o=f my favorite dessert. Especially the cream cheese flan. There are a great variety of flavors, cream cheese, chocolate, coffee, pumkin, etc etc etc They should try one of them to see the difference…

  12. Flan is like a custard with a caramel sauce on top. We like it. Guess each person is different. It isn’t all that hard to make, and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.

  13. I’ve never had flan til tonight and it was delicious. I loved the permeating vanilla tasting, then again I come from a country where gooey slimey stuff is the norm. It looks alright and I don’t know if its an acquired taste because it taste really good. Then again I grew up on escargot.

  14. I had flan for the first time tonight. Maybe it was the mix or how it was made, but it was so effing disgusting! To me, it tasted like a mixture between soured milk and vomit with a hint of caramel. Heck I thought it was so nasty that I went to google and typed in “flan is gross”.

  15. Obviously so many people here haven’t had a good flan… that flan with holes is prepared badly. They over cooked it and whatever method they used (I’m guessing stove top?) made the flan get air bubbles.

    The second picture, the flan wasn’t dense enough and part of it fell apart when they inverted it…

    Anyways, in my opinion OPINION a good flan is dense, smooth and creamy, can hold it’s shape but melt in your mouth like rich butter, and is glazed with a golden caramel sauce.

    The best flan that is easy and never fails is one made with 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can condensed, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 5 eggs. Whip it up in the blender set aside.

    Make the caramel (easiest method is with water) mix 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons water, put in sauce pan on high heat, stir well, when it turns golden pour into a mold and coat it at least the bottom portion.

    Pour your flan batter into the mold through a strainer to get it as smooth as possible. Cover well with aluminum

    Bake in a water bath at 350 degrees for 60- 90 minutes.

    Remove let cool, and invert. ENJOY :D

    Try it once, make it yourself. I know a lot of places do a crap job at making it, but just do it yourself once or have it from someone who knows to cook trust me.

  16. Who the heck would ask you to remove a picture where you clearly gave them credit? If you are proud of your intellectual property, as long as you are given credit for it, you should be PROUD to have it around the internet as someone chose your photo above anyone else. People will never cease to anger and annoy me.

  17. You have obviously not had true, authentic flan. I happen to have an amazing recipe from my great-grandmother (who, to this day, lives in Mexico) that is simply amazing. I make my own caramel to spoon on top, and it is my favorite dessert.
    It’s rich, sweet, creamy, and the texture is amazing. If prepared correctly.

  18. I LOVE FLAN!!! I even got my boyfriend to like flan! you know how I did this? I covered his eyes and told him to let this yummy dessert melt in his mouth. Hahaha…i think a lot of people judge the flavor of this dessert before they take a bite. I find it is very yummy if you put lots of caramel in the bottom. Maybe this is just me, but i actually think the texture is what makes it so freakin special. I LOVE FLAN! (and i’m not mexican)

  19. Wow odd that a lot of people don’t like flan… I love fresh cold, milky flan. It’s just good. Almost like you are drinking milk, but it is a solid instead, with delicious sugar sauce on the bottom. I guess a lot of people don’t like the texture… how unfortunate. When I first had flan, it was okay, but then the second time I loved it. My first custard.

  20. I actually love flan and there are many ways to prepare it not just plain flan. Try looking up Chocoflan. Its Chocolate cake on top with the flan on the bottom. It is delicious. Its a great pastry for many events and the texture has nothing to do with the taste of things, in my opinion.

  21. With all do respect to all that replied to your question, in order to give a well-informed answered, you first need to have tried a flan made the right way. Flan is NOT to have a Jello like consistency. If the right recipe is followed, the consistency of Flan will be thick, rich and silky; nothing like Jello. Cream Cheese Flan….that is almost like eating a Cheesecake.

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