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Adapted from Bon Appetit

The other morning I was caramelizing sugar and not once, but twice, I burned the saucepan. Ever since I’ve been cooking the pot with water and salt, water and baking soda to no avail. I think I need a new one. I make a great caramel sauce, but most of the flan recipes I found called for just using sugar – no liquids. The third attempt, in a different pan was the charm – the addition of cream and water helped. [Because it took me so long to get the caramel right, I needed to make a second batch of flan; hence the needs for two cans of pumpkin.]

pumpkin flan with spicy pepitasWhat you need:


  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c water


  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 c milk
  • 5 whole large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 15-oz can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Spicy Pepitas (pumpkin seeds):

What you do:


  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Heat ramekins in oven while making caramel.
  • In heavy, sm saucepan heat sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase heat, bring to low boil until syrup is deep amber – do not stir during this process, swirl pan occasionally, careful to keep syrup on bottom of pan.
  • Stir in heavy cream; mixture will bubble.
  • Divide caramel among ramekins and chill until set.


  • In heavy saucepan bring cream and milk to simmer over med heat.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In lg bowl whisk eggs and sugar
  • Whisk in pumpkin, vanilla, spices and salt until combined well.
  • Whisk hot cream mixture into pumpkin mixture slowly.
  • Pour custard through fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, scraping with a rubber spatula to force through.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Pour custard over caramel.
  • Bake in water bath until flan is golden brown on top and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 min.
  • Remove ramekins from water bath and transfer to a rack to cool.
  • Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 6 hours.

Spicy Pepitas:

  • Heat sauté pan with evoo.
  • Add pumpkin seeds and cook over low heat until golden.
  • Toss with honey and seasonings.

To serve:

  • Run thin knife between flan and side of dish to loosen.
  • Shake dish gently from side to side and, when flan moves freely in dish, invert small serving plate over ramekin.
  • Holding ramekin and plate securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter.
  • Sprinkle flan with spiced pumpkin seeds just before serving.