Savory Custard with Caramelized Onion and Smoked Cheese


This savory custard is just the thing to serve on a crisp fall evening — perhaps with sautéed black kale and baked apples for dessert. The flans are light, yet rich with flavor — and virtually carb-free. (If you’re feeling decadent you can cook the batter in a tart shell, but they’re just as tasty without a crust.) The onions can be caramelized a day or more in advanced, then heated just before using.


(3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
Savory Custard with Caramelized Onion and Smoked Cheese


  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus butter for the ramekins
  • 3 large yellow onions cut into a medium dice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large market eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (2 % will taste fine) or light cream
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup finely grated smoked Cheddar cheese


  1. Heat a wide, non-stick pan with the butter. Add the onions, stir well to coat, then season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until the onions are very soft, occasionally giving them a stir as they cook. They should generate enough moisture that they won’t stick. After an hour, remove the lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are pale to medium gold. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375’. Boil water for the baking dish. Lightly butter the ramekins.
  3. Crack the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the milk, nutmeg, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a grating of pepper.
  4. Divide the onions and cheese among the ramekins, then pour in the custard. Stir each with a fork to evenly distribute the onions and cheese, then put the ramekins in a baking dish, add the water to come at least an inch up the sides, and bake in the middle of the oven until golden and well set, about 50 minutes. Serve the flans in their dishes, or turn them out onto a plate. The tops will look rather naked since they won’t be browned, so plan to garnish them with some minced parsley.

Yield: 6 half-cup ramekins

*As diabetics, too often we focus on the foods we’re not supposed to eat, struggling to say no to pasta and bagels and all the things we know can wreak havoc on our blood sugar. But there are countless delicious recipes that won’t send our glucose levels out of control — and we think Diabetes Awareness Month is a perfect time to share some of our favorites. We’ve gathered diabetes friendly recipes from leading chefs and food bloggers and other great cooks, all of whom know that eating healthily doesn’t mean having to skimp on taste.

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