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Pumpkin Flan (Flan de Calabaza)

Pumpkin flan is the only dessert you need this fall! Pumpkin pie, cheesecake and flan combine in one epic dessert!

Slice of Pumpkin Flan on a plate

Pumpkin Flan

Note to regular readers: I’m back! I had to take an unplanned break to deal with some personal matters. I have several recipes I wasn’t able to post during that time but they’ll be up shortly. Some are out of season now, but good food is good anytime! 

Ever since I posted Flan de Queso (cream cheese flan) on my blog it has firmly held the title for Most Popular Dessert. There something about the rich, tangy cream cheese that makes flan even better. 

It’s only fitting then that this Flan de Calabaza (pumpkin flan) contains cream cheese as well. It gives it a velvety texture similar to cheesecake – like two desserts in one!

If you’d rather not add the cream cheese that’s perfectly okay. You’ll have a traditional flan with a silkier texture. If leaving out the cream cheese, go ahead and add another egg.

This pumpkin flan is taking over as my favorite fall dessert! Bye bye to pumpkin pie! Plus, it looks so impressive, yet it’s easy (as pie) to make!

If you’ve never made flan before, continue reading for all my tips and tricks for the perfect flan every time.

Whole Pumpkin Flan with cinnamon and cream cheee

How to make Puerto Rican Flan de Calabaza

Firstly, start a kettle of water to boil, preheat your oven and set out 2 pans for the flan. One should be an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides.

The other should be a larger pan that the cake pan can fit inside, such as a 13×9 or small roasting pan.

Next, you’ll need to prepare the caramelized sugar syrup. This is what glazes the flan once you unmold it from the pan.

Wedge of Pumpkin Flan on a plate

The process of melting sugar takes time, so don’t rush it. Go low and slow so it doesn’t burn and allow at least 10 minutes for results.

It can be tempting, but try not to touch the melting sugar with any utensils until it’s liquefied. To stir, gently swirl the pan around.

The sugar will be a dark amber color when it’s finished cooking. The important part here is that all of the granules have melted and there are no clumps.

Pour the syrup into your cake pan right away and tilt the pan around to coat. Work quickly before the sugar hardens, but take care since the pan will get hot.

Pumpkin flan in the pan before unmolding

Set that aside while you prepare the custard. Simply place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Don’t over-mix, however, since that will add extra air bubbles into the batter. We want a smooth, silky flan.

To remove air bubbles and any little bits that didn’t get blended, pour the mixture through a sieve as you add it to the cake pan (which is nestled inside the larger pan).

Add enough boiling water to the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. The flan will cook in a water bath also known as a baño de María or bain marie.

This gives it a more even temperature as it cooks and prevents it from curdling or forming crusty edges.

Slice of Flan de Calabaza y Queso on a plate

It takes about an hour to cook, but every oven is different. You can tell it’s done when the outside is completely set and the very center has a slight jiggle. It will continue to set all the way as it cools.

You can also stick a fork or knife in the center to test just how firm it is.

Before serving, pumpkin flan needs to be thoroughly chilled. It will take several hours to cool down and then chill in the refrigerator, so plan on making this dessert ahead of time.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan. Place a plate over the cake pan and flip the whole thing upside down. Slowly remove the pan and let the syrup drip down.

To make it extra fancy, garnish with cinnamon sticks, pumpkin seeds and/or swirls of whipped cream!

You may also enjoy…

Easy Flan Cake (Flancocho) – another crazy good Puerto Rican recipe that combines two desserts in one!

Puerto Rican Flancocho - easy flan cake recipe!

And if you love alternative pumpkin desserts this Pumpkin Brownie Trifle is AMAZING!

Layers of fudgy chocolate brownies, pumpkin cheesecake pudding and warm pumpkin spice combine in this festive dessert. Pumpkin brownie trifle is an easy yet stunning dessert to make this holiday season!

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