The Flan From Ipanema: Brigadeirao Chocolate Fudge Flan

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - The Flan From Ipanema: Brigadeirao Chocolate Fudge Flan

Everyone knows the song “The Girl From Ipanema” with the line “when she passes each one she passes goes, Ahh…”. That would be the same reaction Brigadeirao, a Brazilian Chocolate Fudge Flan would get if it were sashaying down Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janiero. It’s HAWT!!!

I wasn’t looking for this dessert when I was cruising Pinterest in search of a chocolate version of the Pudim Molotov dessert I made this past spring for a brunch party. It found me. When I saw photos of Brigadeirao, I went, “Ahh…”. It looked dense, rich, and uber-chocolatey. I knew I had to make it.

There was some confusion when I asked my Brazilian food friends if they had ever had or made this dessert. A number of them said there was no such thing and I was confusing it with Brigadeiros, the famous Brazilian candies that are chocolate fudge balls rolled in sprinkles. I assured them I’d found numerous recipes for the flan so it had to be a real dessert. It may very well be based on the candies since they have some similar ingredients. I will definitely make the candies another time.

A number of Brigadeirao recipes call for drizzling the flan with the crème anglaise and then adding the sprinkles, but I love the chocolate-on-chocolate look of the sprinkles directly on the flan and the sauce on the side. It’s very elegant looking despite the sprinkles which I associate with cupcakes and kids parties more than fancy desserts. I did use uppity Guittard Chocolate Company’s real chocolate sprinkles on mine. You could ditch the sprinkles for chocolate shavings which might blend more suceessfully with the texture of the flan. I also found the texture of this dessert lends itself to be cut into shapes. You could make it in a square pan and use cookie cutters to cut it your desired shapes.

I used two cocoa powders to get the rich color in this dessert. I used predominately Guittard’s Jersey Cocoa, but I added a couple of tablespoons of their black cocoa powder as well. I get it from Sahadis in Brooklyn since it’s not readily available for retail. They sell it as a bulk item. You have to be careful with the black cocoa powder because it’s strong and could make the dessert literally look black. I used it once in a caramel dessert and it looked like a prop from The Swamp Thing. Perfect for Halloween, but perhaps not Thanksgiving. Any cocoa powder will work, but higher quality ones will give the Brigadeirao flan nicer flavor.

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Brigadeirao: Chocolate Fudge Flan

Gluten-Free, Desserts & Chocolate, Parties & Potlucks
A dense chocolate flan covered with chocolate sprinkles and served with crème anglaise. From Brazil, it resembles the famous Brigadeiros chocolate candy balls.
Brigadeirao: Chocolate Fudge Flan


  • 1 recipe Creme Anglaise Vanilla Custard Sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (113g)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 16 ounces whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • hot water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9” ring pan and place it in a larger pan to prepare it for a water bath.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, with a whisk, beat the eggs with both of the milks, butter and vanilla. Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the cocoa mixture until it’s smooth.
  4. Pour the flan mixture into the prepared pan and add hot water in outside pan to reach about an inch up the side of the pan. Carefully, place flan in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Carefully, remove the flan from the oven and the water bath and cool on a rack for about 30 minutes. Place in the flan in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours until it’s completely chilled.
  6. To serve, warm bottom of the pan by dipping it in a container of hot water, then wipe it dry and invert the pan on a serving dish. Tap the pan gently to release the flan.
  7. Cover the top of the flan with chocolate sprinkles. Serve with crème anglaise on the side.
Total time:
Yield: 8 servings