Known in France as “Flan Coco”, this famous Coconut Flan hails from the French Antilles. With the exotic flavors of coconut milk, shredded coconut and vanilla, this recipe may be a stretch from what you would expect of a classic French dessert, yet it is a very popular flan in mainland France too. Most French (myself included) love to indulge in the cuisine from the French Antilles Islands, and this flan may be one of their most beloved recipes to recreate at home.
What makes this French Antilles Coconut Flan (Flan Coco) special?
The singularity of the French Antilles Coconut Flan is in its texture, which divides itself into two different layers while baking. The shredded coconut magically separates to float to the surface and creates a biscuit-like crust. Once flipped upside down, the flan showcases two different layers: a luscious creamy flan topped with caramel and a soft shredded coconut biscuit at the bottom. I love the contrast of these two textures!
This Coconut Flan is an easy, light and refreshing tropical dessert that’s welcome anytime during Spring and Summer. I love that it is also naturally gluten-free and a great dessert to make ahead. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- I like to use vanilla extract to flavor the flan, or even better, the seeds of half a vanilla bean. You can also opt for rum or almond extract.
- Make sure you use sweetened condensed milk and unsweetened shredded coconut. Using sweetened shredded coconut would result in a flan that is just too sweet.
- Use the freshest eggs possible.
- If the top of the flan is browning too much when baking, simply place a sheet of foil on top to prevent it from darkening further.
- Make sure the flan is fully chilled (at least 3 hours) before you un-mold it. If it isn’t chilled enough, it will likely collapse when you flip it.
- Likewise, make sure you leave the mold in 2 inches of hot water for about 10 minutes before you unmold the flan, to allow the caramel at the bottom to soften itself and release the flan.
I hope you enjoy these French Antilles Coconut Flan (Flan Coco) as much as I do! Any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
You may also like:
- Classic French Chocolate Pots de Crème
- Classic Crème Caramel
- Thick Double Chocolate Pudding
- Classic French Crème Brûlée
1 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (400ml/14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup (300ml /10.15 fl oz) coconut milk (can)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds of ½ vanilla bean)
1 cup (95g) unsweetened shredded coconut (plus extra for garnish)
For the caramel:
½ cup (100g) sugar
Make sure you read the cooking notes before you start.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C) with a rack in the middle. Prepare an un-greased loaf pan within arm reach.
Step 1 – Make the caramel. Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-heat. Do not touch the sugar anymore – no stirring; but you can occasionally shake the pan. Let the sugar melt, bubble and turn a golden color. Watch it carefully and when the caramel turns amber, immediately remove from the heat and pour the caramel evenly over the bottom of the pan. Set aside to cool and harden.
Step 2 – In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract and shredded coconut. Pour the mixture in the loaf pan (over top of the caramel).
Step 3 – Place the loaf pan into a larger dish, and fill the larger baking dish with water at least 1/4 up the sides of the loaf pan. Cook for 50-55 minutes, until the top crust is lightly golden and firm to the touch. Transfer the flan to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Transfer into the fridge and chill for at least 3 hours.
Step 4 – When chilled, place the pan in about 2 inches of fairly warm water, so the caramel at the bottom of the pan softens again. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Invert a plate over the pan, hold tightly and quickly turn over.
Sprinkle with shredded coconut before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appetit!