Also referred to as ‘pudim de doce de leite‘ in Portuguese, this creamy dulce de leche flan is a custard dessert made with store-bought dulce de leche. A delicious caramel syrup covers the flan once it’s released from the mold!
Think of this pudim de doce de leite as an even more rich and dense version of traditional flan! Same basic ingredients, only difference is the addition of doce de leite (dulce de leche), which is a milk-based caramel.
As a Cape Verdean-American, you become accustomed to using the words ‘pudim’ and ‘flan’ interchangeably. Such is life when you live in a melting pot of cultures!
Same thing goes for ‘doce de leite’ and ‘dulce de leche’ – a milk-based caramel that’s popular throughout Portuguese-speaking countries and Latin America.
Same desserts, same ingredients, same methods, different names.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Combining two classic desserts into one will take you to a level of sweet and creamy that you’ve never tasted before!
Good looks aside, this pudim is actually quite easy to make. Don’t let the fancy photos intimidate you!
Ingredients you’ll need
This list of ingredients is very short! Refer to the recipe card for measurements.
- One can of store-bought dulce de leche – I prefer canned, because homemade tends to harden as it cools. The room temperature of the canned version also ensures that the eggs don’t cook as you’re blending the ingredients.
- One can of evaporated milk – gives the pudim that classic, nutty taste.
- 4 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks – it’s important to include some egg whites in this recipe to stabilize the pudim, otherwise the texture won’t stand up well with the doce de leite. The addition of 2 more yolks makes the pudim super-creamy!
- Heavy cream – you only need ¼ of a cup. Not many pudim or flan recipes call for heavy cream but I like to include it for an even creamier texture.
- Kosher salt – optional, but I like to use just a pinch to balance the sweetness
- Granulated sugar – the only ingredient you’ll need to make the caramel syrup
How to make pudim de doce de leite
Here’s some advice before you get started – read through the entire post first! That way you won’t miss any steps, substitutions or helpful tips.
Steps 1 & 2: Blend the custard ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the custard mixture by combining the whole eggs, egg yolks, dulce de leche, evaporated milk, heavy cream and salt in a blender.
Blend on high speed for no more than 30 seconds. Leave the custard mixture in the blender and set it aside.
Steps 3 & 4: Prepare the caramel syrup
Prepare the syrup by heating the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. As the pan heats, the sugar will start to liquefy – you’ll notice a pool of amber liquid around the edges.
Lower the flame slightly and stir until the sugar is completely melted – it will clump as it melts. Keep stirring and watch the color closely. If it gets dark really quickly, turn the flame down lower.
Quickly pour the caramel into an aluminum mold. Using oven mitts, tilt the mold so the caramel covers the bottom and sides. Allow the caramel to harden.
Safety tip: Always use mitts when pouring the syrup into the pan, especially if it’s aluminum! It will get hot! Also, don’t attempt to touch or taste the syrup before it cools!
Steps 5 & 6: Bake the custard in a water bath
Place the mold with the hardened caramel in a roasting pan. Pour the custard mixture into the mold and cover with foil.
Fill the bottom of the roasting pan with 1-2 inches of boiling water. Add a little more water if you’re using a deep mold like the one shown below.
Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and bake the custard at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Tip: strain the custard mixture through a sieve when you pour it into the mold for an extra-smooth texture.
Let the custard cool and chill overnight
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the mold from the water bath. Remove the mold from the bath and let cool at room temperature for another 15 minutes.
Transfer the mold with the pudim to the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Un-mold the pudim
After the pudim has set, remove it from the refrigerator and place it in a bath of boiling hot water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. This step is important because it helps release it from the pan.
Flip the pudim onto a pie plate or a dish with raised sides. Let it sit inverted until it releases itself – this might take a few minutes!
Optional – use a knife to loosen the sides of the pudim before flipping it. Don’t go all the way down though, just the very top of the edge should work. Don’t forget the center of the mold.
Here are some substitutions you can make for this recipe:
- Milk substitutes – whole milk or coconut milk can be used instead of evaporated milk
- Condensed milk – can be used instead of dulce de leche – recipe here
- Heavy cream can be omitted from the recipe if you don’t have or prefer not to use any
- Homemade dulce de leche can be used instead of canned – recipe coming soon!
There are so many variations of flan! Here are some:
- Traditional flan – uses condensed milk as a sweetener instead of dulce de leche
- Pudim de queijo (flan de queso) – made from cheese, can be goat cheese or minas cheese which is found in Brazil. Some Latin-American recipes call for cream cheese
- Pudim de chocolate (chocolate flan) – made with shaved chocolate or cocoa powder
Check out my traditional flan recipe!
You won’t need anything fancy, but here are a few tools that I suggest:
- I use a pudim mold with lid, but you can use an 8-inch round aluminum pan
- A roasting pan works great for a water bath – just remove the rack
- High speed blender – for the custard mixture
- Mesh sieve – to strain the pudim mixture into the mold
Leftover pudim should be tightly wrapped in plastic and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freezing leftover pudim is not recommended.
- Always use oven mitts when handling a hot pan! The pudim mold gets very hot when you pour the caramel in!
- Never attempt to touch or taste the caramel syrup before it’s fully cool
- Bubbles can create air pockets so blend the mixture before making the syrup so it can settle as it sits.
- Use a mesh sieve to strain the custard mixture as you pour it in the mold
- Optional – use a knife to loosen the sides of the pudim before flipping it. Don’t insert the knife all the way down though, just the very top edges. Don’t forget the center of the mold.
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Pudim de Doce de Leite (Dulce de Leche Flan)
- 13.6 ounce dulce de leche store-bought, 1 can
- 12 ounce evaporated milk 1 can
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the custard mixture by combining the whole eggs, egg yolks, dulce de leche, evaporated milk, heavy cream and salt in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Leave the mixture in the blender and set it aside.
- Prepare the caramel syrup by heating the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. As the sugar gets hot, it will start to liquefy - you'll notice a pool of amber liquid around the edges. Lower the flame slightly and stir until sugar is completely melted. The sugar will clump as it melts but will eventually turn smooth. Watch the color as you keep stirring, turn the flame down lower if it starts to get dark too quickly.
- Quickly pour the caramel syrup into an aluminum pan or mold. Using oven mitts, tilt the pan so the syrup covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Allow the syrup to harden.
- Place the mold with the hardened syrup in a roasting pan. Pour the custard mixture into the mold and cover it with foil. Fill the bottom of the roasting pan with 1-2 inches of boiling water, add a little more water if you're using a deep mold.
- Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and bake the flan at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before removing the flan from the water bath. Once out of the water, let it finish cooling at room temperature - another 15 minutes.
- Transfer the flan to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- After the flan has chilled and set, remove it from the refrigerator and place the mold in a shallow pan of hot water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. This step is important because it helps release the flan from the pan.
- Flip the flan onto a pie plate or a dish with raised sides. Let it sit inverted until it releases itself - this might take a few minutes! Cut into slices and serve.
- Use an 8-inch round pan if you don't have a flanera or pudim mold
- Always use oven mitts when pouring the caramel into the pan, the sides will get hot!
- Never attempt to touch or taste the caramel syrup before it's cooled
- Bubbles can create air pockets so blend the mixture before making the syrup so it can settle
- Use a mesh sieve to strain the custard mixture when you pour it in the mold
- Optional - use a knife to loosen the sides of the flan before flipping it. Don't insert the knife all the way down, just the very top edge should work. Don't forget the center of the mold.