Simple et traditionnel – Flans de semoule au caramel


Some people call this gâteau, it’s more like a flan to me than a cake, no matter how you call it, this is a very traditional French dessert. It took me a while to find coarse semolina and even thought of bringing it back from France at some point. But I figured, since you can find anything in San Francisco, with a little effort, I knew it would be out there. So this was another find at Samiramis, the Middle Eastern store. Semolina based desserts being common in Middle Eastern countries, here it was among other grains and cereals.

Flan de semoule is a very simple dessert, yet quite delicious. It does not have the consistency of a flan, it’s thicker and more dense because of the semolina, but the flavor reminds me of a flan. You can also add raisins and flavor it with rum for a little twist.

As for the caramel, it’s very easy to make, you need the right pan…when I use certain non-stick pan, my caramel crystallizes. It took me a while to figure that out. First, I thought it was my stove, then I was convinced it was the sugar…but no it was the pan material. So if your sugar doesn’t melt and crystallizes, before throwing away pounds of sugar, try out changing your pan, it might just be the trick!

Ingredients for 3-4 flans (depending on the size of the ramequins)

For the flans

  • 1 pint (or 500 ml) milk
  • 2.10 oz (or 60 g) coarse semolina
  • 2.45 oz (or 70 g) sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the caramel

  • 5.30 oz (or 150 g) sugar


Heat milk in a pot with vanilla bean (cut lengthwise, beans scraped). When the milk starts boiling, add semolina and keep stirring so that the semolina doesn’t stick. Cook and stir for about 15 minutes. Remove from stove and add sugar and egg.

For the caramel, melt sugar in a pan at low heat until the sugar melts and turns golden brown.

Divide caramel in ramequins, then pour semolina mixture on top. Cook in a water bath at 360F for about 25 minutes.

Refrigerate and serve cold.