Detroit Eats

Musings of A Detroit Based Food Fanatic

Make Something Sweet Something Savory – Garlic Flan

with 33 comments

flan 2

I love to take something that is traditionally sweet and give it a savory twist. In the past I’ve used this approach to make dishes like Salmon Éclair, Savory bread pudding and Sopapillas with garlic,cumin and salt. This appetizer is based on the traditional Mexican dessert Flan but with a couple of differences. Replacing the sugar with garlic puree has enhanced the basic custard. Additionally, the traditional caramel coating of cooked sugar and water has been replaced with a reduction of beer and brown sugar. Individually portioned flan can be made in small ramekins or made in 9 or 10 inch glass pie tins. For the purpose of this recipe ramekins were used.

Garlic Flan

(Serves 12)
For caramel coating:
1 Bottle Beer
2 cups brown sugar
For filling:
10 eggs
2 cups milk or cream
¼ cup garlic puree

1. In a shallow sauce pan place beer brown sugar and pearl onions
2. Reduce until very thick ( coats a spoon easily). Remove pearl onion.
3. Working one at a time, spoon the syrup into the ramekin and swirl the syrup around the edges until the inside of the ramekin has a firm thin coating. Place in the refrigerator or freezer.
4. Repeat until all the ramekins are coated.
5. Mix egg, garlic puree and milk (or cream) thoroughly. ( a hand mixer may help with this)
6. Pour into the coated ramekin until full.
7. Place ramekins in a baking dish or hotel pan
8. Fill baking dish or hotel pan with cool water until the water has risen halfway up the ramekin.
9. Bake in a 350F oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until firm. If the tops start to brown lower oven temperature slightly (25 degrees).

To Serve:

1. Run a thin knife around the edge of each ramekin.

2. Place serving plate over the top of the ramekin and invert.

Drizzle any additional syrup around the edge of the plate and garnish with minced chive

This is best served warm. If it cools completely it can be reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds. This will be enough to melt the caramel.


Written by Ed Schenk

February 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm

33 Responses

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  1. Excellent recipe. Made it tonight for a pot luck dinner and everybody loved it!

    However, I have a question. The caramel ingredients say “1 bottle of beer”. How big a bottle? I think my bottle must have been bigger than yours because the caramel was not coating my spoon despite a long time of cooking. I eventually got it to the right consistency when I added lots more of sugar.

    The other thing is that it took a LONG time to cook. More than an hour.



    May 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    • P.S. I used a 10″ glass pie pan.


      May 23, 2014 at 10:45 pm

  2. Thanks for your comments on my blog.
    This is such an interesting twist on Flan! I’ll be sure to try this one out!


    March 10, 2010 at 10:20 pm

  3. How very interesting! The flan looks really good- I can almost smell the garlic here.


    February 27, 2010 at 5:52 am

  4. I’m a fan of savory concoctions usually meant for dessert. I had a prosciutto panna cotta made by Chris Cosentino of Incanto fame and it was out of this world. I’m going to try your garlic version.


    February 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

    • The panna cotta sounds fabulous. I thing you will enjoy the flan as well.

      Ed Schenk

      February 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

  5. Very intriguing…I am wondering how the garlic stands out and if you feel like you’re actually eating a dessert. I might have to try it, because I am really intrigued.


    February 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

  6. Super idea! I’ve made lots of flans, but never thought of savory. The addition of beer is yet another surprise.
    This is my first visit to your blog…I’m originally from Southeast Michigan as well. Fun post and good recipes. I’ll be back!


    February 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

  7. what!!! i can’t believe you did this–how awesome. the demon in me would like to serve this to some unwitting guests for dessert just to see their reactions. 🙂


    February 21, 2010 at 4:31 am

  8. What a creative twist on a traditional custard dessert. Amazing! Thanks for sharing.


    February 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

    • Thanks
      Check back for other posts on the theme “Making something sweet something savory”

      Ed Schenk

      February 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

  9. Oh my, this flan is simply amazing. Garlic? Beer? Too cool. I’m in on trying this one too.


    February 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    • Thanks for visiting.
      The important part is to get your caramel right and coat your ramekins/Pan.

      Ed Schenk

      February 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm

  10. I have been thinking about flan lately, but hadn’t gotten around to searching out recipes. I love the idea of a savory flan, very creative! I can smell the garlic all the way over here in Chi-town 🙂

    (I meant that in a good way of course LOL)

    Debi Morris

    February 19, 2010 at 11:40 am

    • The same basic recipe for flan is the same as for a custard, or a bread pudding. Learn the basic recipe and it can take you a number of places.

      Ed Schenk

      February 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm

  11. Garlic and caramel? Ooooh, I bet that IS divine. Garlic gets so buttery and almost caramelized when roasted, so why not add to that goodness with some sweet, hoppy love?

    Carolyn Jung

    February 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

  12. Wow, does this flan really have garlic? You’re certainly more adventurous than I am:)


    Dinners & Dreams

    February 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

    • It definitively works! You can also do a nice flan with seafood.

      Ed Schenk

      February 19, 2010 at 9:38 am

  13. Love this idea! I just got a flan pan for a gift and was going to start looking for flan recipes this weekend. Thanks for this recipe.


    February 19, 2010 at 7:24 am

  14. Garlic flan, sounds delicious…it took me a while to get used to have garlic in desserts 🙂 but I love it! Yours look gorgeous!


    February 19, 2010 at 7:21 am

    • It’s not really meant to be a dessert. It’s really an appetizer just using a custard but I guess you can use it any way you choose.

      Ed Schenk

      February 19, 2010 at 7:37 am

  15. Indeed, something sweet and something savory! Looks like a great flan, can you smell the garlic as the flan sits on the plate?


    Cajun Chef Ryan

    February 19, 2010 at 2:21 am

  16. THIS LOOKS AMAZING!!!!! I love making flan/creme caramel, but I never would have thought to make it savoury. Will definitely have to try. two thumbs up 🙂


    February 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    • Thanks for the thumbs up!

      Ed Schenk

      February 18, 2010 at 9:34 pm

      • where do pearl onions fit in?


        September 3, 2011 at 10:18 am

      • They get cooked with beer and brown sugar and flavor the caramel

        Ed Schenk

        September 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

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