Extremely popular throughout the Americas, crème caramel, or flan, as it’s known locally, is similar to crème brûlée. Both are caramel custard desserts, and both are served cold. But while crème brûlée features a hard caramel layer on top, usually created with a blow torch just prior to serving, flan’s caramel layer is soft. This is accomplished by pouring sugar syrup cooked to caramel stage into a mold prior to adding the custard base. The flan is then cooked in a bain-marie or water bath. After cooking, it is turned and served upside down, with the caramel on top.
While usually vanilla flavored, variations are as plentiful as the places it can be found locally, from gourmet restaurants and bakeries to Malecon vendors. (The local Costco sells a particularly sinful one...!) Regardless, it is a truly appealing treat throughout Mexico!