Pumpkin Caramel Flan – a silky smooth, creamy custard loaded with pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice, with a layer of soft caramel on top.
I’m feeling very blessed tonight. As I write this post I think back to my day and how excited I was, because I knew our children, and their spouses, and all the grand-babies would be coming over. On the first Sunday of each month we host a family dinner. It’s a special day for us because getting together as a family was actually their idea. How great is that? They’re adults now so we all sit and talk, laugh and share stories. We talk about how much their children remind us of when they were little. Oh the memories.
We looked ahead to the holidays, planning our family Thanksgiving dinner, a photo project involving the granddaughters for Christmas, and we scheduled our family holiday picture. Baby Jayden tried pears tonight for the very first time. It was the first time she has eaten any kind of fruit in her whole life (7 months) and we all got to see her wonderful reaction!
My heart is full. These are the best of times.
First of all, can you guess what I served for dessert at our Sunday family dinner?
Our daughter-in-law Callie likes Pumpkin Pie but there are only a few of us that eat it. Everybody else wants Chocolate Pecan Pie for the holidays. So, I thought I’d sneak in one more pumpkin recipe (for Callie), with my very last can of pumpkin, before the holiday extravaganza got away from me. Caramel Flans, and this pumpkin version, are super easy to prepare and are especially great because they must be made ahead of time. That makes this Pumpkin Caramel Flan a great dessert for a crowd or even a pumpkin loving daughter-in-law.
Several years ago one of my former coworkers gave me her authentic Mexican Caramel Flan recipe. I decided to try and adapt it by substituting pumpkin for the cream cheese, added pumpkin pie spice and exchanged the vanilla for vanilla bean paste. In addition, I switched one of the whole eggs for an egg yolk, and added one more just for good measure.
Finally, the texture of the Pumpkin Caramel Flan was spot on with a subtle, not too sweet, pumpkin flavor. I garnished the individual flans with roasted, salted pepitas which is a great contrast to the soft caramel. The recipe may be baked in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish, an 8 or 9-inch cake pan, or in an assortment of ramekins.
Don’t forget to PIN to your favorite dessert board!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 cup canned pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
- 3 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Pinch of salt
- Optional: 2 tablespoons roasted salted pepitas for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Flan must be baked in a bain-marie, or hot water bath. Prepare a larger pan big enough to hold 6-8 ramekins, a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish or an 8-9" cake pan. Place the pan with the empty ramekins or casserole in the oven to preheat while preparing the caramel.
In a small nonstick saucepan, warm the granulated sugar over medium heat. Shake and swirl the pan occasionally to distribute the sugar until it dissolves and starts to color.
Once almost all the sugar is melted, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue swirling the pan until the caramel turns dark golden brown. You can slow the cooking process by lifting the pan over the heating element (4-6 inches) if you are worried it's browning too quickly. You don't want it to burn because it will have a very bitter taste.
Once browned, divide the caramel between the preheated ramekins or pan. Set aside to cool while preparing the custard.
Heat a kettle of water to boiling and set aside.
Place all remaining ingredients (except pepitas) into a blender and process on high for at least one minute. Divide the custard between the ramekins. Place the pan holding all the ramekins in the preheated oven. Carefully pour hot water into the pan to about 1 inch in depth. Close the oven and bake for 60 minutes or until the custard is set.
Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The flan should be fully chilled before serving.
To serve, slide a small sharp knife around the edge of the dish. Shake the ramekin back and forth until you hear the custard pulling away from the sides of the dish. Invert the flan onto a plate to serve. Garnish with pepitas if desired.
You may need to use 6-8 ramekins depending on the sizes. I have two large, 6-inch ramekins, several 4-inch and some 3-inch. I used an assortment of different sizes but all baked the same.
For the traditional Caramel Flan - use the following ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
4 large eggs
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Here are a few more pumpkin recipes you might enjoy:
- Pumpkin Crème Brûlée ~ from Saving Room for Dessert
- Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust ~ from Saving Room for Dessert
- No Churn Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream ~ from The View from Great Island
- Pumpkin Slab Pie ~ from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Here’s my favorite blender (photo is clickable) for making this Pumpkin Caramel Flan:
The small print: If you decide to purchase something at Amazon after following my affiliate link, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use to pay for web hosting and services for this blog.
Happy Monday my friends. I hope you have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!