Pumpkin Flan

Pumpkin Flan

I love any holiday that involves eating for several hours (with a glass or two of wine.) What I particularly love is a holiday from home that I can share with my kids, making it a tradition for them. We’ve celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving here for the past few years – probably since our first born was eating solids. I don’t know if the kids really understand what it’s about, but I do know that they look forward to Thanksgiving dinner, especially when we share it with friends and family.

This year, we celebrated with another family who are good friends of ours. This is all part of our master plan to integrate Canadian traditions into the British psyche. First we brought them Canada Day in the form of a BBQ, and now we bring them desserts made from pumpkin.

I kept it fairly traditional: turkey, ham, potatoes, veggies, rolls, gravy, and two different desserts. One should always have a back-up dessert, just in case your guests hate your first dessert. It could happen.

I do love a good pumpkin pie, but I tend to make pumpkin cheesecake for something a little different. This year, I came across a recipe for pumpkin flan (http://www.marthastewart.com/339046/pumpkin-flan) and had to try it out. It combines two desserts I love – pumpkin pie and crème caramel. It also appeals to my husband’s lack of wheat consumption, and I’m all for anything that has a lot of cream in it.

The kids went for ice cream and/or the apple cake, although my friend’s son did try the flan and gave it a thumbs up. We thought it was a nice finish to the meal – not too sweet, and still had that pumpkin pie sort of flavour. I didn’t put the whipped cream on top, mostly because I completely forgot it was in the fridge. I don’t think it needs it, but if you want to add it, I think it would be nice with a little cinnamon or orange zest added to it.

I made this in a 9” springform pan, and had no troubles getting it out afterwards. It was difficult to tell if it was done; I just sort of poked at it until it looked like it was set. The wonderful thing about this is that you can make it well ahead of time and actually seems to improve with age. I made this the day before and it was still delicious a couple of days later.

Pumpkin Flan


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin puree (about half a tin)
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or double cream
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream/whipping cream, whipped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.

Let it sit in the pan until it begins to melt and turn brown (about 5-10 minutes).

Stir it a little until it’s the colour of maple syrup, then immediately pour it into your flan pan.

Swirl it around to cover the bottom of the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

Stir in pumpkin puree.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, and vanilla.

Thoroughly blend the egg mixture into the pumpkin puree.

Set the flan tin in a large roasting pan, and pour the custard over the caramel.

Carefully pour enough hot tap water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pie plate.

Bake until the custard is set, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool and chill in the refrigerator.

Run a knife around the outside edge of the flan and invert it onto a rimmed plate (this wasn’t necessary with a springform pan.)

Cut into wedges or scoop and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.


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