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Little desserts of Spain: lavender goat's milk flan recipe


This variation on Spanish flan is infused with lavender./Wikimedia Commons

Flan is one of my favorite desserts and apparently a lot of Spaniards feel the same way. This flan is made with goat’s milk and infused with lavender. The combination of dense, eggy custard, caramel sauce and the palate-cleansing lavender is irresistible.   

We’ll wrap up our exploration of the little desserts of Spain on Saturday with deep fried tarts filled with quince paste and Manchego cheese. 

This recipe is from “El Farol Tapas and Spanish Cuisine” by James Campbell Caruso. ISBN: 1586851012. 


For the caramel: 

1 cup granulated white sugar

¼ cup water 

½ cup honey 

For the custard: 

1 cup goat’s milk 

½ cup dried lavender blossoms or ¼ cup fresh lavender buds

½ cup sugar 

2 whole eggs

2 egg yolks 

6 fresh lavender buds for garnish (optional) 


Preheat oven to 300°. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. You will use this boiling water as a water bath for the custard. 

Make the caramel: 

Put the 1 cup granulated white sugar and the ¼ cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. 

Heat the sugar mixture over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is a light amber color. Stir in the honey. Remove from the heat immediately. 

Pour about a tablespoon of the caramel into 6-4 oz. ramekins and set aside. 

Make the custard: 

Heat the goat’s milk and lavender until the milk begins to steam and bubble. It should be just on the verge of boiling. 

Stir the ½ cup sugar into the hot goat’s milk. 

Remove the goat’s milk from the heat and let rest 10 minutes. Strain the infused goat’s milk into a clean bowl to remove the lavender. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and yolks until smooth and combined. 

Temper the eggs by adding about ¼ cup of the warm goat’s milk to the egg mixture and whisk. Add another ¼ cup of the warm milk to the egg mixture and whisk. 

Whisk the egg mixture to the remaining warm milk. 

Gently ladle the custard into the prepared ramekins.  

Place the ramekins into a large, deep, heat-proof baking dish. Carefully pour the water into the baking dish around the ramekins. 

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake 30 minutes. 

Remove the baking dish to a wire rack. Lift the ramekins out of the hot water using tongs and cool to room temperature.  Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. 

To serve, unmold the flans onto deep plates and garnish with the remaining caramel syrup and fresh lavender buds. 

Cook’s notes: 

  • In the LA area, find goat’s milk at Whole Foods Markets, or check your nearby farmers market. 
  • It doesn’t matter if the goat’s milk is raw or pasteurized – you’ll scald it before adding the eggs.  
  • You might wonder why a little of the milk is whisked into the eggs before the eggs are added to the milk. This getting-to-know-you process is called tempering, and it prevents the eggs from scrambling when they are added to the milk. 
  • This recipe has two dangerous substances that you must pay attention to when using: boiling water and melted sugar. Be careful, especially if there are small children in your home. Burn injuries have lifelong consequences.  

More information: 

Try lemon rosemary flan for another variation on the sublime egg custard. 

Or how about a coconut flan from Chicago Mexican Food Examiner Amy Hernandez?