This post has been sponsored by NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Holidays with my family make me think of delicious food and my father’s flan. Today, I’m sharing my version of my father’s flan de coco recipe (Puerto Rican coconut flan). Flan de coco is made with coconut milk and shredded coconut, which adds a delicious Caribbean-style taste to the traditional dessert. A key ingredient is creamy NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk from Walmart (you can find it in the Hispanic aisle or Shop Now through Walmart Online Grocery Pickup). Personally, I think it’s even more of a treat with a mug of NESTLÉ® ABUELITA Mexican Hot Chocolate on the side!
See the full Flan de Coco recipe at the bottom of this post, keep reading to get my tips on making this coconut flan recipe to perfection, and watch how it’s made in this video:
What you need to make coconut flan
Everything you need to make this Puerto Rican coconut flan recipe can be found at your local Walmart: white sugar, 1 can NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk, 1 can coconut milk, heavy cream, eggs, and sweetened shredded coconut. It is also delicious when enjoyed with a mug of ABUELITA Mexican Hot Chocolate, so we make sure to pick that up, too. One of the things I love about Walmart is that it’s a one-stop shopping experience. I can get my NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk, coconut milk, and ABUELITA Mexican Hot Chocolate in the Hispanic aisle and everything else in the baking and dairy aisles. If you buy now at Walmart, you can earn cash back with Ibotta! Ask anyone in my family, and they’ll tell you LA LECHERA® brand sweetened condensed milk is the only choice for making authentic Latin treats and desserts. It is delicious and so versatile, and great in anything from flan to cookies to drinks (like my coquito recipe). Not just Latin recipes, either- LA LECHERA® is a high-quality sweetened condensed milk that’s great for any recipe.
How to make Flan de Coco
To make flan de coco, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and gathering your ingredients. I like to have everything measured and ready before I start the cooking process, because things can move pretty quickly at times while making coconut flan.
First, you will make the caramel for the Puerto Rican style flan. If you’ve never made flan, you might find that this is the most challenging step, as there are variables that can cause your sugar not to cook properly, your caramel can quickly go from perfect to overcooked, and the caramel may harden quickly when you’re trying to spread it into your pan. Because of this, I recommend having extra sugar on hand in case the first caramel attempt fails and needs to be redone. If the first attempt fails, do not fret! This is only the first step, and while redoing this step might feel frustrating, it won’t affect the overall outcome of your flan de coco recipe.
To make your coconut flan’s caramel layer, place one cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir it! Stirring the mixture with a spoon can cause the sugar to clump and crystallize, which won’t work in your flan. Instead, leave it be and put a lid on the saucepan for 1 minute, or until the sugar has dissolved with the water and heat. Remove the lid and continue cooking gently. Again, do NOT stir the sugar mixture, but you can swirl the pan gently occasionally until the sugar has melted completely and turned into a golden-brown caramel. This will take about 5 more minutes. As soon as it is melted and looking like a caramel color, pour the caramel into a round glass baking dish (I use a 9.5” glass pie pan) in an even layer and quickly tilt the dish a few times to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom of the dish.
Cooking tip: While your sugar is melting, you can place your glass dish in the oven while it is preheating to warm the dish. This will help you to spread the caramel into the dish, as the warm dish will keep the caramel from hardening more quickly than you can spread it. Just remember to wear oven mitts while tilting your pan to distribute the caramel.
Set the pan aside so that the caramel can cool for 15 minutes, or until hardened.
While the caramel is hardening, you will create your custard filling. To prepare the Puerto Rican-style flan filling, place the NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk, coconut milk, cream, eggs, and shredded coconut into a blender.
LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk has a creamy consistency, and sweet, luscious texture, which makes it perfect for flan!
Blend everything until the custard mixture is smooth and the coconut flakes are pulverized (this should take 1 to 2 minutes).
Let the custard mixture rest for a few minutes, then stir it with a spoon to release some of the air bubbles. To release more air bubbles (which will ensure the creamy consistency we all love for our coconut flan), pour the custard into a large liquid measuring cup through a mesh strainer. After straining, stir any coconut pieces from the strainer back into the custard.
Pour the custard mixture into the baking dish over the caramel. If you’re using a pie pan you should fill it nearly to the top of the pan, but be sure there is about ¼” of space at the top so you don’t risk spilling it while you’re transferring it to the oven. Flan doesn’t rise much while baking, but you do want to be careful about spills.
Place the flan pan on a baking sheet, then pour warm water into the baking sheet so that it goes about halfway up the sides of the pie pan. This water bath is important when making custard dishes like flan de coco, as it will allow it to cook more evenly and gently. Otherwise, your flan might end up with an eggier, less creamy consistency and become overcooked.
Bake the coconut flan in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until set, checking the water every 15 minutes or so to make sure it hasn’t evaporated or is boiling too vigorously. If the water has become too low, add more. If it is boiling really heavily, carefully remove some of the water (I use a baster with a bulb to pull some of the water out) then refill with a little tap water. It’s not a big deal if the water is boiling, but if it’s boiling too vigorously it might bubble up and get into your flan, or spill over the side of the baking sheet into the oven.
When your flan de coco is done baking (it will be set but still slightly jiggly in the center), remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the water bath on the counter for 10 minutes. After that, remove the pan from the water and allow the coconut flan to continue cooling on the counter for at least 30 more minutes before moving it to the refrigerator to chill overnight.
When ready to serve your Flan de Coco, gently run a butter knife around the edges of the dish to separate the flan from the sides, and invert onto serving plate. Most of the caramel layer should come down on top of the coconut flan and start dripping down the sides. This is what it’s supposed to do!
Garnish your Flan de Coco with additional sweetened shredded coconut flakes.
Puerto Rican flan de coco is delicioso paired with a mug of ABUELITA Mexican Hot Chocolate! This authentic Mexican chocolate has a unique and unmistakable touch of cinnamon, which smells and tastes amazing… perfect for the holidays!
I hope that you can create your own family holiday memories with Papa Cruz’s Flan de Coco! Don’t forget to look for NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk and ABUELITA Mexican Hot Chocolate next time you’re at Walmart (Learn More).