Finca Agroecológica El Paraíso shares the recipe for their famous flan with Cynthia Carris Alonso, the author of the cookbook A Taste of Cuba.
Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso
Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso, in Viñales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Photo: Cynthia Carris Alonso

Since it’s still not easy to travel to Cuba due to U.S. policies and COVID-19 health risks and travel restrictions, it’s my pleasure to share some of the taste of Cuba with you here! Especially, this flan recipe (below) from Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso.

This flan recipe was shared with me by my friends at the family-run Finca Agroecologica El Paraíso, an organic farm and paladar run by Wilfredo García Correa and his daughters.

This flan recipe was shared with me by my friends at the family-run Finca Agroecologica El Paraíso, an organic farm and paladar run by Wilfredo García Correa and his daughters, Rachel and Rosalba, in the lush Viñales Valley in western Cuba. As its name suggests, this place is a little piece of paradise with fertile, nutrient- rich soil and spectacular landscape views of the valley’s famous mogotes—unique geomorphological formations.

Wilfredo’s arrangement with the government gives him permission to work this land by donating 10 percent of his crops to public beneficiaries such as maternity homes, hospitals, schools, and senior centers, while the other 90 percent of the farmed products are used by the paladar restaurant business on the farm, which is currently closed due to Covid-19.

Beyond El Paraíso’s impressive herb and vegetable gardens, the farm also has chickens, which laid the eggs used in this flan recipe. Perhaps as a response to the fact that (liquid) milk is not readily available to most adult households in Cuba, this recipe is unique in that it calls for powdered milk. If you’re looking for a more “Americanized” version of the recipe, see the note following the recipe.

At Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso’s restaurant, diners sit outdoors on the farmhouse porch enjoying the view. Meals are served family-style with an array of fresh food directly from the farm. All meals end with a traditional sweet and creamy caramel custard flan dessert which you can now try to cook in your own kitchens!

Finca Agroecológica El Paraíso’s Flan 

Serves 6

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have ready a 9-inch loaf pan or 8-inch pie pan and a 10-inch or larger casserole dish that the loaf or pie pan will fit inside, to bake the flan in a baño María (water bath).

Heat 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of water in a frying pan over medium heat. This will become the caramel. Do not stir this at any point; stirring will ruin the recipe. As the sugar heats, tilt the pan, sometimes aggressively, to keep the sugar melting. The caramel will become tan colored, then light amber, then dark amber. The heat can be turned to medium-high to cause the caramel to more quickly become dark amber. when the temperature reaches 350°F, remove the pan from the heat and pour the caramel into the prepared loaf or pie pan, coating the bottom completely. Set aside.

Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso
Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso, in Viñales, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Photo by: Cynthia Carris Alonso

Related Post: How To Make Louie Estrada’s Flan

Mix the powdered milk with 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat, and add the remaining 1 cup sugar. Heat until warm. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and then gradually add the milk mixture to it. The milk mixture should be warm, but not hot. Stir to combine well, then pour the egg-milk mixture into the loaf or pie pan, covering the caramel syrup, which should now be hardened.

Plan the pan in the middle of the larger casserole dish and place the dish on a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Slowly pour boiling hot water into the casserole dish to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf or pie pan so that the pan is sitting in the middle of a bath, not touching the sides of the larger pan. Bake up to 1 hour for the loaf pan or for 45 minutes for the pie pan, until the middle is no longer jiggly and the internal temperature is 175°F. 

Remove the smaller pan from the water bath and let cool at room temperature on a wire rack for 2 hours. After 2 hours, invert the pan onto a serving platter. The caramel will run, so use a serving plate with a rim. Refrigerate for up to two days until ready to serve.

El Paraiso farm
El Paraiso’s Flan. Photo: Cynthia Alonso Carris.

Note 

This recipe requires the powdered milk to offset the use of only one egg. We remain loyal to the chef’s vision and style and have faithfully reproduced the original recipe. If you wish to use liquid milk instead of powdered milk, this is not the recipe for you. However, the restaurant has since changed their recipe and they now make a more Americanized version, using 1 can (400g) each of condensed milk and evaporated milk, and 2 eggs. They cook the custard on the stove and then bake it in a pressure cooker.

(Note from El Equipo: Cynthia Carris Alonso is the author of A Taste of Cuba: A Journey Through Cuba and Its Savory Cuisine (Apollo Publishers, 2018), and a book of photography, Passage to Cuba, an Up-Close Look at the World’s Most Colorful Culture (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015).)

The Latest From Startup Cuba

Bitcoin in Cuba: How the Cryptocurrency Fits Into Cuban (e)Wallets

Ybor City Has Been a Little(ish) Havana Since 1886

As Travel Returns the Havana Travel Scarf Is a Mask and Purse in One

Samara Mejia Hernandez wants more Chingonas in Venture Capital

Rice in Your Fridge? Use My Congri Fritter Recipe

Havana’s Napoleon Museum Is Arguably the Finest Outside of France

startup cuba youtube
Watch our Startup Cuba video replays here on YouTube.

Cynthia Carris Alonso

Cynthia Carris Alonso is the author of two books about Cuba and has been photographing the island since 1992. She is a photographer, photo editor, and researcher and has worked for internationally-renowned magazines, books, and websites such as Time.com, ABCnews.com, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Rhythm Music Magazine, People en Español, Scholastic and Vanity Fair. In 2016, Cynthia Carris Alonso covered President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, as the two countries continued working toward normalizing relations. With rare access to Cuba, Alonso has photographed Cuba's most famous musicians, covered news events and daily life of the Cuban people on assignment, and documented their unique and mysterious culture, people, passions and spirit of survival. Cynthia’s first photography book, Passage to Cuba, was published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2015. Her latest book, A Taste of Cuba (Apollo Publishers, 2018), celebrates the wonderful taste of Cuban cuisine, as well as the sites, colors, and energy of the Cuban culture. Alonso has given speeches about photography, journalism and Cuba. She has appeared on television and in the press, as a Cuba consultant giving interviews in both English and Spanish. Cynthia is married to Cuban writer José Luis Alonso, and they live in New York City with their daughter.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

startup cuba writers
Loading...