Vanilla–Pisco Flan with Roasted Strawberries

Ricardo Zarate

Mo-Chica - Paichẽ​, and Picca, Los Angeles

Pisco, a Peruvian brandy, adds a special touch to these otherwise classic flans.


  • Roasted Strawberries:
  • 1 heaping cup strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons applejack brandy or other brandy
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Dash salt
  • Vanilla–Pisco Flan:
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons pisco, preferably Pisco Portón


Roast the strawberries: preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place the strawberries in a large baking pan. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, brandy, lemon juice, honey, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Pour the sugar mixture over the strawberries and toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, until the strawberries are soft and the liquid around them is syrupy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until needed.

Make the flan: lower the oven temperature to 350ºF. In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of the sugar with the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring only until the sugar is dissolved. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture is light amber in color, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour a small amount of caramel into the bottoms of six 4-ounce ramekins. Spray the bottoms and sides of the ramekins with cooking spray. Arrange the ramekins in a deep baking pan that’s large enough to fit them comfortably. Set aside.

Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean, and salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Combine the remaining sugar with the eggs and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well.

Over medium heat, reheat the cream mixture just until boiling. Slowly pour the cream into the eggs, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate the custard until it reaches room temperature, about 20 minutes.

While the custard is cooling, bring a tea kettle filled with water to a boil. When it starts boiling, remove from the heat and reserve.

Stir the pisco into the custard. Pour the custard into the ramekins until they are almost full. (You may have some leftover custard.)

Pour some hot water from the tea kettle into the baking pan and around the ramekins, adding enough to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the entire pan with a double layer of foil. Carefully place in the oven and bake until the flans jiggle slightly when gently shaken, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, then remove the ramekins from the pan. Refrigerate the flans for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of each flan. Invert the ramekins onto serving plates and tap them to release the flans. Garnish each serving with roasted strawberries and syrup.


6 servings