F lan is a baked dish with an open top, stuffed with either a sweet or savoury filling. Most popularly understood as a dessert, it’s a custard topped with caramel sauce. Many say that the dish evolved to be called Flan in some regions but is basically the Crème caramel, also understood as caramel custard in India. To make it, one needs sugar, eggs, condensed milk, whole milk, vanilla extract, bourbon, and a pinch of salt.
The word Flan comes from the Latin fladon, in turn derived from the Old High German word flado, meaning flat cake. This dish dates back to ancient Rome when, as a result of domesticating chickens, there were surplus eggs, which were made into sweet and savoury custards. Savoury variants included eel flavoured with pepper and honey, or using other ingredients like fish or meat. As the Roman empire grew, conquering all of Europe, it’s foods and culture also spread throughout. And when in 476 CE the Roman empire fell, flan survived. It was the Spanish who later added caramel sauce to it. And the early settlers took it to America. The Latinos, Central Americans & North Americans later declared Flan the international dessert of the La Raza movement.
Today, Flan is made and enjoyed, the world over, in a variety of flavours, from the classic vanilla to chocolate, and other flavours like coffee, orange, and mango, although caramel remains the most popular and recognisable form of the dessert.