Bourbon Is The Missing Ingredient For Bolder Flavor In Your Flan

Flan is its own wonderful thing: Delicious, creamy, and incredibly satisfying. If you're not familiar with flan, it sits somewhere between custard and cheesecake in creamy cake-like dessert territory, and it's an absolute revelation. If you've ever eaten flan (and especially if you've made it) you know it has a deep caramel topping that oozes over the sweet, velvety custard full of toffee and vanilla flavors. So, of course, flan and bourbon are a match made in heaven.

Flan doesn't traditionally have alcohol in it, but when you consider the depth and complexity of good bourbon — and imagine it in among the sweet, caramelly, eggy notes in flan, it's kind of a no-brainer. You can use any old bourbon you have on hand, but if you really want to bring out the dark caramel notes in your flan, try using a sweeter bourbon. Many bourbons are distilled to have caramel and vanilla notes that play up the bitey sharpness in your flan recipe.

How to use bourbon in flan

Flan is essentially made in two parts; the first part involves making caramel. Depending on how you make the caramel, you could choose to incorporate bourbon at this step. However, it should be noted that this will only work if you decide to make a wet caramel. It will affect the flavor of the bourbon, as it will cook off significantly in the caramel-making process due to the long exposure to heat in a shallow pan. For this reason, it may be preferable to add bourbon to the second half of the flan preparation: the custard.

To prepare the custard, you assemble three types of milk (condensed, evaporated, and whole), sugar, and eggs. This step is usually when bourbon and/or vanilla extract will be added to the flan. Most recipes call for between 2 teaspoons and 1 tablespoon of bourbon, but it comes down to personal preference. Note that too much bourbon will affect the way the flan sets, so don't overdo it. Flan is baked in a bain marie, which will prevent the bourbon from cooking off — a little goes a long way. But if you're looking for a little bit of a kick, add a splash of bourbon on top of the set flan right before serving.