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  • Sweet Potato Flan

    Posted on | November 24, 2008 | 31 Comments |

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but that is definitely not for the food. I just don’t get the fuss about turkey, it’s gotta be the most tasteless meat around in my opinion. I am sure there are others who will agree with me, if that’s not the case why don’t they serve turkey at any of the fine restaurants? We normally get out of town during thanksgiving, so I haven’t made many traditional thanksgiving dinners, but the few times I have, I always substituted turkey with chicken or Cornish game hen. I might even go for a whole roasted duck in the future, but I don’t see myself cooking turkey anytime soon.

    Aside from the turkey, I do like some of the traditional thanksgiving sides and desserts, especially the ones with sweet potato. Sweet potatoes or even potatoes were not part of the original thanksgiving feast, but neither were pumpkin pies. These have become integral to the new world thanksgiving meal though.  If you want a change from the traditional pumpkin pies for this year’s feast, here is a nice and easy dessert still well within the thanksgiving theme.  Sweet potatoes gives a bit more texture to the traditional flan while still keeping it silky and soft. This is a crowd pleaser for sure, and is much lighter than a pie.

    Sweet Potato Flan

    All credit for this goes to Emeril. I followed his Sweet Potato Flan with Chocolate Spider’s Web recipe from Food network, omitting the spider’s web which we didn’t miss at all. I made this for a dinner party, where I didn’t get time to click any pictures. This photo was taken after a day, so the flan absorbed most of the caramel sauce. Flan looked much better the first day, when there was a clear separation between the orange flan and the dark brown caramel layers.


    (Serves 12-16)

    • 1 large orange fleshed sweet potato/yam (about 1lb)
    • 2 cups half-and-half
    • 6 tbsp fine sugar
    • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
    • 2/3 cup water
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 egg yolks 

    For the Caramel Sauce

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup water


    Make Caramel sauce – Add 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer till the water evaporates. Sugar crystallizes first and then starts melting. Keep stirring till it becomes an amber brown liquid. Remove from stove and add some table spoons of boiling hot water, so that it doesn’t thicken too much and turn into sugar candy sheets. This whole process will take about 15-20 minutes. Pour the caramel sauce into one large 10 cup souffle dish or in individual ramekins.  I used two smaller spring foam pans since I didn’t have a large enough dish. Tilt the dishes to coat the bottom and a little bit of the sides with the caramel sauce.

    Prepare sweet potato puree – Preheat oven to 450F. Scrub the yam and place it on an oven rack and bake for 35-45 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely. Remove the skin and cut into chunks and place in a food processor. Add 1 cup of half-and-half while the machine is running and process to form a smooth paste.

    In a large bowl, combine the sugar, 1-cup of half-and-half, condensed milk, water, vanilla extract and maple syrup and mix well. In another bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks until frothy. Strain the eggs into the ingredients in the first bowl.

    Add the sweet potato puree and whisk well and pour into the prepared pan with the caramel sauce.

    Preheat the oven to 300F.

    Place the dish in a large baking pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 1hr 45 minutes at 300F or until the flan is set but still soft. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

    Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Before serving, run a knife through the edges and invert into a serving dish. Cut into wedges and serve with the caramel sauce spooned over.

    Note: You can replace the sweet potato puree with pumpkin puree to make a pumpkin flan.

    Also, check out my pistachio flan recipe.

    Sending this over to Aparna who is celebrating the first anniversary of her delightful blog My Diverse Kitchen. Happy Anniversary Aparna!

    Category: Desserts, Diary, Eggs, Sweet Potato or Yam

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    31 Responses to “Sweet Potato Flan”

    1. Mamatha
      November 24th, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

      One of your best pictures, that! I like how it looks with the caramel layer melded into the flan. If only I could have a slice of that without all that work.

    2. Manasi
      November 24th, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

      you don’t like turkey!!! thats blasphemy girl! :razz: But I’m with you on the sides…I could defn make a meal of those.

    3. indosungod
      November 24th, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

      Flan looks beautiful!
      Can’t stand turkey either. I eat it with hot sauce or pickles :(

    4. Gini
      November 24th, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

      No turkey for us either. We usually make lamb rack. I am leaning towards lobster this time. I heard on NPR today that it was part of the first Thanksgiving meal :razz: I like the idea of the sweet potato flan. will give it a try.

    5. Laavanya
      November 24th, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

      That looks rich, decadent & creamy.

      • nasir qureshi
        August 29th, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

        hi m a pastry chef in cibo restaurant hotel janpath n looking for contacts with desserts lover for my restaurant promotions…… me at or 08800858143…thanks

    6. usha
      November 24th, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

      I don’t like turkey either. I usually do chicken, whenever I prepare thanksgiving meal. Flan looks yummy..

    7. Veda
      November 24th, 2008 @ 10:44 pm

      looks awesome! nicely presented sig !

    8. nags
      November 24th, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

      That looks good! I haven’t tried making flan yet though I have bookmarked so many recipes all around!

    9. Raaga
      November 25th, 2008 @ 1:26 am

      I must try with pumpkin..looks very pretty! I have no luck with sweet potatoes!

    10. sra
      November 25th, 2008 @ 1:41 am

      I CAN make out it’s not ordinary caramel custard but I wouldn’t have known what went into it. I don’t have much luck finding this vegetable, and here they are pale yellow inside, not orange.

    11. arundati
      November 25th, 2008 @ 1:56 am

      looks fab…

    12. Uma
      November 25th, 2008 @ 1:59 am

      what a delicious flan! looks so good.

    13. Nirmala
      November 25th, 2008 @ 4:11 am

      This looks beautiful. Could iamgine the soft cloudy feel when u eat it. Amma makes a biriyani out of turkey meat. Haven’t had them in the recent. I vaule remember the taste as it was years back.

    14. Meeta
      November 25th, 2008 @ 4:22 am

      I can tell you that this is a great flan. I made another version of this last year and sweet potatoes lend such a gorgeous flavor to this. Lovely!

    15. Vij
      November 25th, 2008 @ 4:32 am

      yummy flan! looks awesome sig!

    16. Swati: Sugarcraft India
      November 25th, 2008 @ 5:19 am

      Ooh… this looks yummy!!

    17. Happy Cook
      November 25th, 2008 @ 5:27 am

      When i saw the title of the post i had to blink a few times, double checked if i was in the correct place.
      A dessert here , that is something we don’t see here often.
      The flan looks super delicious. I can imagine how it slides down ones throat when eating them :-)

    18. Sia
      November 25th, 2008 @ 7:30 am

      Drool… :)

    19. Julie
      November 25th, 2008 @ 11:42 am

      I saw this picture on foodgawker and just had to stop and read about it. Gorgeous!

      And I completely agree with you about turkey. Did you ever read Calvin Trillin’s essay about his crusade to make spaghetti carbonara the national Thanksgiving Day meal? Very funny, and an idea I’m totally behind.

    20. Chocolate Shavings
      November 25th, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

      What a great looking flan! I agree that turkey is not always the best of meats, especially when it is not properly cooked!

    21. Anita
      November 25th, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

      Gorgeous looking flan!
      Me, I like turkey! Or at least I think i did…was so long ago…yum with gravy, if my memory serves me right. Nostalgia it might be…

    22. shilpa
      November 25th, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

      Thats a beautiful flan Sig. i have never cooked or tasted turkey any time. But I like to watch the festivities on the TV. They are fun :) .
      Wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

    23. Aparna
      November 25th, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

      About the turkey, I have no idea. :grin:
      But your flan looks lovely. Never had any idea sweet potato could turn into anything so gorgeous, a bit like the ugly duckling-swan thing.
      I think this is the first time I’m seeing a dessert here. Just looked at the pistachio flan too.
      Thanks for celebrating with me.

    24. sharmi
      November 25th, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

      you are an expert in flan making. pic looks awesome. btw I have one more pom recipe in my draft hehehe… (Secret is I won the weekly givaway :smile: and want to win $5000 too :wink: :twisted: , now dont say I am greedy

    25. Mary
      November 25th, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

      Sig, this is an absolutely beautiful dessert. Speaking of beautiful—gorgeous blog!

    26. varsha
      November 26th, 2008 @ 12:04 am

      wow..luks sooo divine..:)

    27. ingrid
      November 26th, 2008 @ 1:10 am

      Your flan looks great even though you thought it looked prettier yesterday! Either way I’d love a slice!

    28. sig
      November 26th, 2008 @ 4:32 am

      Thank you all for the sweet words, but the credit goes to Emeril for such an easy recipe! Hope you all will try this, it is a great dessert.

    29. Susan from Food Blogga
      December 3rd, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

      What a light and elegant variation from pie.