an alternative to using only milk to make these little delights is using milk & coconut milk mixture. the flans will set exactly the same as using regular milk and give a more exotic tropical flavour. while vanilla is used to flavour these, if you are more adventurous, you can try adding pandan or kewra extract.
to make these you will need four 1/2 c ramekins.
an alternative to using eggs is to use agar flakes. the amount needed will depend upon the type of agar used. consult the directions on the packaging.
coconut crème caramel (flan)
makes 4 individual desserts
1 c sugar (2/3 c & 1/3 c)
1 c coconut milk (thick or thin type)
1 c milk (or vanilla flavoured soy milk)
4 eggs or appropriate amount of agar*
1/2 pod scraped vanilla bean seeds or 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c shredded coconut (fresh or dried) -- optional
*you will have to experiment with this. try making a half recipe to test out the results and adjust accordingly.
make caramel syrup:
in a pan over medium high heat, mix together 2/3 c of sugar and 1/2 c water.
bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.
cook until the mixture caramelizes to a golden brown.
remove from the heat and add 2 tbsp water and stir until all is mixed well and caramel is dissolved. do not skip this step.
divide the mixture equally between each of the 4 ramekins. set aside.
preheat the oven to 325F.
make the custard:
in another pot,
heat the milk and coconut milk until bubbles appear. it should be quite warm but not hot (enough to curdle the eggs). remove from the heat.
while the milk is heating, beat the eggs and strain them with a fine sieve. this is an optional step but helps to make a nicer end result.
place the strained eggs in a bowl and add about 3/4 c of the milk mixture and and beat until smooth. do not add if the milk is extremely hot or you will curdle the eggs. this step is optional but helps to temper the eggs. add this mix to the rest of the milk .
alternatively, add the eggs directly to the milk.
add the remaining 1/3 c of sugar, the vanilla and shredded coconut. mix well.
pour the mixture equally into each ramekin. chances are you will have a bit extra. don't worry about it.
in a roasting pan or pyrex, place the filled ramekins carefully leaving space between each.
fill the pyrex or pan with boiling water until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins.
carefully place the pyrex into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
remove and let cool. refrigerate until serving.
to unmold the ramekins, run a knife around the edges of it and then place a serving dish on top.
turn the plate over quickly and unmold.