The Roman Empire, although largely known for its military prowess. Was also a society of invention. It brought us aqueducts.

Our current calendar. (Leap years included.)

Christianity (so they are who I have to thank for all of this Catholic guilt).

Modern neo-classic and Byzantine architecture (ummmm right….).


Tax collection (how that of all things withstood the Barbaric invasions, I will never understand. You would think it could have fallen off the truck somewhere along the way…or been shoved off. Forcefully. Now if only I could just figure out how to go back in time…).

Also. Flan. They brought us flan.

Yes. Unlike many of the formidable Roman monuments that were destroyed upon the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks. This wibbly wobbly dessert. With its flimsy four letter name.


I feel a sort of intimate connection with this delicacy. We are descendants of the same people, after all. We understand each other.

We are survivors.
Which is why I knew that this was the dessert to make for my friend Mari when she came over for dinner this week. Never mind the fact that I’ve never made it before. Or that there are rules against such things.

Flan and I have a connection. An indomitable bond. It wasn’t going to do me wrong.

Topped with homemade whipped cream, this sweet potato flan was just the perfect cross between the more traditional creme caramel and a sweet potato pie. It had an almost smoky flavor, reminiscent of molasses. Complex and yet subtle. It, like many of the best things in life, got better with time. (And by time I mean two days. And that was pushing it. Seeing as how we came dangerously close to eating it all in one sitting.)

I personally think this would be perfect as a kind of quirky alternative to traditional Thanksgiving desserts. But it was also delicious on a pretty warm day at the end of April. A further testament to its invincibility.

Sweet Potato Flan
Serves 8, adapted from What’s For Lunch Honey?

400 g sweet potato, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 lime, juiced
190 g sugar, separated
2 tbsp water
1 cup almond milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Place the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast them for 30 minutes but make sure they don’t become too dark. Allow them to cool. Puree them in a food processor with the lime juice. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.

2. Stir half of the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the mixture takes on an amber brown color. Immediately pour the caramel into small ramekins or one 9-inch round cake pan. Save about 2 tbsp caramel in the saucepan. Swirl the caramel around the cake pan so that it covers the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides.

3. Add the milk to the remaining caramel in the saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until the caramel dissolves. Whisk eggs in a bowl until frothy. Whisk in cream, salt, sweet potato puree, and remaining sugar. SLOWLY whisk the hot caramel-milk mixture into the egg mixture. (Really. Slowly. Otherwise the eggs will cook.) Pour back into the saucepan and heat for 1 minute. Pour into the baking pan or ramekins.

4. Place the pan inside a large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until just set in center, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from water. Chill 5 hours or overnight.

5. Serve topped with homemade whipped cream.

This is my (late) submission for Have the Cake!

Also, be sure to check out my post over at Our Krazy Kitchen today! And check in on Regional Recipes by this afternoon for the round-up and announcement of our new country!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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66 Responses to Sweet Potato Flan – Have the Cake

  1. Astra Libris says:

    Joanne, this looks like heaven!! As a good Southern girl I’m a huge fan of sweet potato pie… 🙂 Your flan looks even grander – I can’t wait to surprise everyone with this gorgeous dish on Thanksgiving! Thank you!

  2. Jen says:

    YOU ROCK! wish I could taste it!! hope you girls had fun!

  3. I am not found of pies…but this one looks luscious!

  4. doggybloggy says:

    next up – the sweet potato facial – LOL this looks really rich and tasty –

  5. Little Inbox says:

    With sweet potato? This is new to me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This sound fabulous! I’m going to have to try this recipe.

  7. elra says:

    Sweet potato for flan, that sounds really clever Jo. I like it!

  8. Kelsey says:

    oh yummmmmmm! that would be perfect not just for holidays but any day really! looks fabulous! <3

  9. Veni, vidi, vici! You came, you saw, you rule! That dessert recipe is coming home with me right now. I love all yellow veggies but sweet potatoes are in the top three! How delicious to put them in a flan.

  10. Barbara says:

    I make a pumpkin flan that my family is very fond of…but this has a deeper color and probably deeper flavor as well. My sweet potato pie is more savory than sweet and is not as big a hit with the kids. Will definitely try your recipe.
    Had not a clue flans were Roman. I always thought they were Spanish in origin. Which is why (with condensed milk usually a main ingredient in a regular flan) we find them so much in the Caribbean.

  11. This recipe is so tempting!! I love sweet potatoes and flan, great combo.

  12. Debbi Smith says:

    This looks fantastic! Sweet potatoes are awesome, it’s amazing what you can do with those babies!

  13. PJ says:

    sweet potato flan looks wonderful and so yummy! a work of art indeed, Joanne!

  14. Amy says:

    Can you believe I’ve never had flan? Can’t imagine anything about it I would love, though. Some day.

    Now taxes…those I’m all too familiar with.

    Pictures are looking wonderful, Joanne. Drool.

  15. Amy says:

    I meant can’t imagine anything I would NOT love. DOH. It’s like pie. And custard. Hello. Yum.

  16. Looks fabulous! Nicely piped whipped cream too. Tx to you and Meeta for posting this recipe!

  17. A sweet potato flan sounds so unique and delicious! Yum!

  18. Chris says:

    You just “edumacated” me, didn’t realize it was of Roman origins.

    Nice presentation with the piping Joanne.

  19. Flan is one of my favorite things – EVER! I look forward to trying this delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing:)

  20. Pam says:

    Oh man, I adore flan!

  21. Looks so good! I’m always on the lookout for “different” desserts – things other than the typical cake, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. I haven’t tried out a flan in over a year. Thanks for the reminder that they exist 🙂

  22. Joanne

    You are indomitable~ (I hope I spelled it correctly) Where do you find all this energy girl?
    Great idea for a dinner party and way better than the classic flan !

  23. Deborah says:

    I haven’t had flan in a very long time, and I’ve never had sweet potato flan. This sounds amazing!

  24. MaryMoh says:

    Oooh….my favourite…sweet potatoes! I would love a BIG slice…mmm. Thanks for sharing.

  25. wow that looks gorgeous joanne..

  26. Debinhawaii says:

    Looks delicious–perfect for any time at all. Such a unique take on a classic dessert too.

  27. Debbie says:

    What a unique dessert that sounds wonderful! Looks great too….since it has sweet potatoes it must also be healthy and good for you!! You are one creative cook Joanne!

  28. Faith says:

    Oooh, flan is a real favorite of mine. Your flan looks perfectly creamy and amazing. What a great use for sweet potatoes!

  29. daphne says:

    who would have thought this is sweet potato? A vege in a flan! woohoo!! surely that means i can have an extra piece for being healthy. lol

  30. I am SO inspired to try this wonderful looking dessert. A Southerner, I love all things sweet potato, and my many years in the Philippines made me such an aficionado of flans. Although mine tend to come out bubbly and leathery, but I’ll definitely give this a whirl. Many thanks for sharing.

  31. Karine says:

    I have never had flan or sweet potatoes for dessert. That is an interesting combination for me! 🙂

  32. Jessie says:

    The only things sure in life … oh, taxes.

    I didn’t realize that you had such an intimate connection with flan. Or that flan was a sentient being. 😉 I know what I’m making you for your birfday!

  33. Julie says:

    flan! mmm i would love to say i’m a fan haha but i can’t lie its just too jigglyish for me. although yours looks pretty dang stellar

    i totes support an indian food festivities night!! let’s do it 🙂 but let’s wait a few weeks until i rebuild my bank account after my car raped it haha

  34. Kelsey says:

    i loved ur comment! i ate dirt as a kid hehe, and i too plan on letting my kids get as many germs as they want to build up a strong and healthy immune system. all this nonsense of 24/7 sanitizer sessions seems a bit rediculous to me. glad someone thinks like me 🙂

  35. Love the texture of flan! Sounds really good with sweet potato!

  36. OMG this is heaven on a plate… looks so goooohd… and the whipped cream look like pearls on a black velvet dress hihihi.. so elelgantly looking flan you have here JOanne!

  37. Mary says:

    It is a lovely looking creation! Why not have it for Thanksgiving? I can imagine how lovely the texture here must be. Yum :-). I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  38. Katerina says:

    Flan in general has a very delicate taste. I am sure this one has also this refined taste that makes a flan a sweet masterpiece.

  39. msmeanie says:

    Oh no you didn’t girl! Sweet potato and flan?? This sounds like a heavenly combination.

  40. Andreas says:

    Sweet potato flan sounds really intriguing.
    I must try this sometime.

  41. teresa says:

    ooooh, this looks wonderful! i bet the sweet potato adds so much to this dish!

  42. Raina says:

    Sounds delicious. I have never had a flan or tried making one. I love sweet potato pie. In fact, I love sweet potato anything. So I know I will like this.

  43. i love anything with a sweet potato! this looks amazing-i am sure mari loved it 🙂

  44. This looks amazing! I love sweet potatoes! Does it have the same texture as a pumpkin pie without the crust? Thanks for commenting on my blog about the Mexican Flan!

  45. gaga says:

    I love sweet potato and flan. What a great pairing. It looks delicious.

  46. oh wow great flan and fun post

  47. Shannon says:

    ooh, my my, this sounds amazing! i need to pick up some sweet potatoes 🙂

  48. Stella says:

    This is awesomeness, Joanne. I’m always so impressed with your food-it’s what I want to eat!
    I don’t know if I can get good sweet potatoes right now, but I’m making this when I can for sure.

  49. Muneeba says:

    I’m having flan right NOW! Seriously … only, erm, mine’s the kind from a box *shamed*. Anyhoo, j’adore your sweet potato flan .. and wish I could’ve been there with u and Mari!

  50. sophia says:

    Wait…WHAT?! Hold on..MARI came over? OMG. Can you see my face?! Can you see my jealous, hissy fitting face?! Ahhh, sooo jealous! Oh, to have you cook dinner for me….to dine with these two lovely girls!

  51. shellyfish says:

    Looks just beautiful! We are vegan flan fans, and sweet potato flan is just the best! Lovely.

  52. Kim says:

    Look at all of that creamy deliciousness! Can you believe that I’ve never made a flan before? Crazy, right? I love creamy desserts like this. You did a gorgeous job piping on the whipped cream.

    Off to check out Regional Recipes!

  53. theUngourmet says:

    I did not know this about flan. Interesting! Your flan is beautiful! So sorry to have missed your recipe round up. I just couldn’t settle on anything. Shooting for the next one! 😉

  54. Wooow Jo,,,nice cake with beautiful perfect piping on cake dear..look soo nice.

  55. tigerfish says:

    It can’t be you never made the flan before – it looks perfect. Ok. Your first time. You are a genius!

  56. How awesome! I am not a huge flan fan, but I would definitely give this a try…you made flan look gooood 🙂

  57. I love the sound of a sweet potato flan! Kind of different and so scrumptious looking!

  58. Laurie says:

    Oh sweet sweet potatoes.. how do I love thee!
    This looks so delightful!

    Love your new blog design Joanne!

  59. sweetlife says:

    We love flan, I just finished reading a book about the Romans and then I read your blog, how funny. I like your purple shirt,(on mari blog) great recipe.
    [email protected]

  60. Meena says:

    love this flan…just to die for!!! this post reminds me…i have been meaning to follow your blog for awhile…now added you to my list!

  61. Karen says:

    I keep meaning to tell you that I LOVE the new look of your blog! This flan looks great, too… love flan, too 🙂

  62. Mari says:

    That was such a great flan! I think I talked about it all weekend! next up some indian cuisine =)

  63. Jayasri says:

    Hi Joanne, nice to meet you!!, I am amazed at your cooking skills, being a student !!, when do you find time to do all this!!, I fell in love with your flan, I would definitely try this recipe, I have BM’ed it, first time here, like to participate in your vitenamese cooking, and last but not least, thanks for visiting me and leaving such a beautiful comment…, visit me whenever you have time , thank you…

  64. Shirley says:

    Simply love this recipe. I have to make this.

  65. Ann says:

    Flan is Roman??????
    I think I’m going to be elgible for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and “Jeopardy” just from reading your blog.
    I’ll take “Sweet Potato Flan” for a 100, Alex….

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