Flan is probably right up there on my list of top favorite desserts. It's light, creamy, smooth, and so, so comforting. The fact it's also topped with caramel (my absolute favorite flavor ever) helps a little too...
So what's a girl to do when she wants flan, but doesn't eat eggs, dairy, or white sugar? Find a workaround of course ;)
So obviously this is no typical flan... in fact there is nothing conventional about it. All the classic flan ingredients were tossed out the window...well apart from vanilla ?... oh wait, that was actually replaced with raw ground vanilla bean instead, because it just tastes so much better.
Honestly, who could resist those tiny flecks of vanilla bean in their flan, right? ? So yeah, some of the classic steps were turned inside-out, but hey, the end result is very similar to the traditional recipe. So long as this hack method to eggless flan works, why not! :)
Quick Tip 1: up top is said flan pictured with a hint of maple syrup on top. Below it is wearing a heavier coat of date syrup. Both work to give the flan that caramely taste, so go for whatever is available to you and makes more sense. Date syrup is a bit thicker so holds its shape well on top of the flan. Maple syrup will drip right off, so best to serve the flan on a plate with rims.
Quick Tip 2: I don't share recipes with agar agar often (though it is an amazing ingredient that can help you make things like gelatin-free jello or eggless lemon curd) because it tends to be one of those things that causes people unfamiliar with it go "what's that?!", "is there something else I can use?!" etc. And I don't like to create such panic ?.
But in this case the agar agar is necessary, and I promise it'll be absolutely worth going outside your comfort zone for. This eggless creamy vanilla treat will be your reward :)
This refined sugar-free and eggless flan adaptation is a delicious, smooth, simple, and comforting little treat. This classic recipe fits a wide variety of diets as it's gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, and oil-free, soy-free, nut-free, and can be made coconut-free as well.
- 1 cup light coconut milk (or almond milk)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp agar agar flakes (mine were finely crushed; see notes re: powder)
- ⅛ tsp raw ground vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
- Place all flan ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring regularly. Once the mixture comes to a light simmer, let it simmer for about 30 seconds to 1 min, then turn off the heat.
- Divide this mixture between three small ramekins (or small glass containers), let cool to room temperature, then carefully place in the fridge and refrigerate for two-three hours (or overnight) to set.
- When ready to eat, run a knife around the edge of the flan to loosen it up a little, then flip the ramekin onto a plate and tap the top to release the flan (or alternatively simply enjoy out of the ramekin). Top with some date syrup and enjoy! Keep leftovers refrigerated.
Note: agar agar flakes are not the same as agar agar powder. They are the same source product, but the change from flakes to powder is significant as the powder is a lot more concentrated. I used flakes here as that is what I had on hand, but if you want to substitute agar agar powder in this recipe you'll need to reduce the amount to about .66 of a teaspoon (the conversion of powder to flakes is 1:3).