Flan Week: Cuban-Inspired Pumpkin Spice Flan {Recipe}

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pumpkin spice flan

{Photo Courtesy of Bren Herrera}

Editor’s note: This is the fifth post in our Flan Week celebration in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Today is the turn of  Bren Herrera, a Cuban-born American private chef,  food writer, blogger and creator of #FlanFriday.  Bren shares with us a story and recipe of her favorite Cuban flan: Flan de Calabaza . We hope you come back during the weekend because we´ll continue with Flan Friday for two more days! 

Who doesn’t like flan!??! Clearly, we’ve all tuned in to Flan Week because we have a special weakness for this decadent postre. Growing up, we ate flan very infreqently because mami used to make it the traditional way– in a baño María. Being seven of us in the house, the single flan was always rationed.
When I finally learned how to make flan, I remembered my favorite one being pumpkin. Ironically, it was the one of many that mami seldom made. It was too labor intensive. I was intrigued by it because we ate Cuban calabaza with just about every meal: in salads, in potaje de garbanzo and other things. Using it in flan was genius!
Finally, when it was my turn to tweak it, I incorporated fall spices that would add a nice aromatic touch and really make it pop. The addition of nutgmeg, cloves and other spices yields a sexy and fragrant flan that you simply must add to your fall dessert repertoire!

To be enticed with other flavors, check out my blog, Flanboyant Eats, every day where I do a #FlanFriday and feature a new flavored flan!

Flan Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Flan


6 tbsp. sugar
4 whole eggs, whisked
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned will do)
3/4 cup 2% or whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg


For custardIn a bowl, combine eggs, sweetened condensed & whole milk, pumpkin purée, spices and extract.  Whisk for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

For caramelAdd sugar to the aluminum flan mold and bring to medium-high heat. Allow all of the sugar to melt down until golden caramel, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar to burn. When sugar is fully dissolved into caramel, carefully coat the bottom and sides of the flan mold using hand towels to hold the pan. Use a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel. Let sit for two minutes until sugar sets. Pour flan mixture into pan using a medium mesh hand strainer.

Baking the Flan: If you have a traditional 10″ flan pan, cover entirely with aluminum foil. If using a more updated version, cover lid and shut tight with latches. Add two cups of water to a large saucepan and gently place flan pan into the baño de Maria. Bring to boil for 45-60 minutes or until custard is fully cooked, but not too firm. Once the flan is fully cooked, immediately low heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove flan pan from the baño de Maria and discard excess water from saucepan.

Do not remove flan from pan. Refrigerate for 7-9 hours or overnight. To serve, loosen the sides of the flan all the way around using a butter knife. Take a large plate, place upside down on top of flan and flip!

Bren Herrera is a Cuban-born American that lives for food, fashion, travel & music–the 4 elements that keep her busy while entertaining others. As a private chef and food writer and blogger, Bren loves introducing to her clients her Cuban roots through her cuisine but also infuses techniques and flavors she’s adopted from her international travels. She cooks in stilettos, owns 9 stovetop espresso makers and starts her day with a doble of Cuban espresso. Her food blog, Flanboyant Eats™, a cheeky wordplay on the Latin custard flan, has garnered her global attention and accolades from revered chefs which whom she’s worked with. Because of her food blog’s name, Bren has been dubbed the “Flan Queen” has over 45 flavors to indulge in. She has written a weekly column LATINA Magazine, Dean & DeLuca and other notable print and online publications. Bren blogs at: and and can be found on Twitter and Facebook under her name.

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