Confused...difference between flan and creme caramel?

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Head Chef
Oct 24, 2004
hey guys! can any of you tell me whats the difference between a flan and a creme caramel?
well i've never made or eaten a flan,but it looks just like creme caramel which is one of my fav desserts.
They're pretty much the same sometimes.

The most common flan is a creme caramel, but the custard that is flan can be flavored with many things other than caramel. It can be savory or sweet.
Andy M. said:
They're pretty much the same sometimes.

The most common flan is a creme caramel, but the custard that is flan can be flavored with many things other than caramel. It can be savory or sweet.

thats what i thought,except that i didnt know that flans can be savory as well,thanks for telling:)
Check out this site for a brief explanation. Being an Aussie, I'd always thought of a flan as an open pie, usually sweet but occasionally savoury. Until I discovered the Spanish version of the custard flan, that is.

It has been said that the day which passes without your having learned something, is a day wasted!
Creme Caramel - Flan

Creme Caramel - Flan

This custard dessert is also known in Spain as flan, in Italy as crema caramella and in France as crème renversée. Creme caramel is a custard that has been baked in a caramel-coated mold. When the chilled custard is turned out onto a serving plate it is automatically glazed and sauced with the caramel in the mold.

1 3/4 cups heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup water 3 large eggs 2 large yolks 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350*F (175*C).
  2. Combine cream, milk and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat stir in vanilla and set aside.
  3. In another medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook, without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  4. Quickly pour caramel into six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Using oven mitts as aid, immediately tilt each ramekin to coat sides. Set ramekins into 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
  5. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl just until blended. Gradually and gently whisk cream mixture into egg mixture without creating lots of foam. Pour custard through small sieve into prepared ramekins, dividing evenly.
  6. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.
  7. Bake until centers are gently set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Chill until cold, about 2 hours or cover and chill overnight.
To serve, run small sharp knife around custard to loosen. Turn over onto plate. Shake gently to release custard. Carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over the custard. Repeat with remaining custards and serve.

Serves 6.

I've always called an open tart a flan - whether savoury (also called a quiche) or sweet - I suspect it may be a British 'thing' and that is why it's also common to use that term in Aus and NZ (don't know about Canada).

I have visited Spain lots (first holidays abroad for many British families was 2 weeks on one of the Spanish Costas!) - and creme caramel appears on most menus as... CC... presumably because that's what most other Europeans call the dish (the curse of French cuisine strikes again!) but it was interesting to learn it is really called a flan!
This is interesting. I always thought an open crusted pie, that is, a pie with only a bottome pastrie crust, was a pudding. And I knew what flan was, but didn't know it could be savory.

And quiche, I thought to be an egg dish similar to egg foo young, but with a pastry crust on the bottom.

I love learning new things.
well 'our' flans can be sweet or savoury - they have a base and 'walls' - sweet ones can be pastry or sponge.

Quiche - of which one of the most famous is quiche Lorraine - is the French word for our savour flans! QL is a fancy name for what the British call egg and bacon pie! It is a pastry shell with a savoury egg custard containing small bits of fried bacon or ham.

Pudding is another name for desserts in the UK, as well as savoury puddings like Steak and kidney pudding, or white pudding or black pudding (sausage type of food).

It's also interesting that we in the UK often use the French form for vegetables and dishes, whilst in the US and also in some areas of Aus, you use the Italian term, eg we say courgette, you say zucchini! And what we call aubergine, you call eggplant.

Definitely we are two nations divided by a common language!

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