A desperate cook on weekends (who is missing a fully functional kitchen) and an Associate Professor the rest of the week, this blog chronicles my weekend culinary adventures in my hometown and the food I feed my family who scratches their heads when I make something unusual.
I don't really remember when or where I first tasted leche flan but it must have been at one of my Mom's school parties. She was a first grade teacher and I always tag along with her whenever they have a school affair when I myself have no class and did not want to be left alone at home. Their affair always included a party for the teachers and their guest of honor and as the son of a teacher, I got a free pass. Let's just say I developed a taste for this simple dessert from my sporadic encounters with it. Our family never really made leche flan for special occasions because one, my Dad's favorite dessert is *buko fruit salad. Secondly, we always ordered a cake from my Tita Warlet so there was no need to panic over not having a dessert to serve.
I was able to experience more versions of leche flan when I went to collge in Manila. I knew of people who actually made the dessert. There was just one problem: it seems that the recipe is a closely guarded secret. A good friend of mine, Dinah, makes really awesome leche flans but she would never tell me how her family made them. I can't pretend I understand the reason behind the secrecy but out of friendship, I respect their decision not to share. My frustration over this dessert was only assuaged by the fact that it is readily available in major cake stores for a reasonable price so if I needed a fix, I bought one.
The first time I tried to make leche flan was when my friends and I were graduate students at the University of Florida. We were craving leche flan but since it was not available to buy, we did a bit of research on the internet until we found a promising recipe to try out. I remembered it being a Friday night and it took us four hours to make it but the overall result was just a tad shy of awesome. It was very sweet but the texture was perfect. I finally managed to make some additional revisions to finally come up with my recipe that is quite fool-proof. A flan may not be your idea of a cake but do give it a chance and you might find yourself hankering for it.
On the issue of what condensed milk to use, I prefer the La Lechera brand as it seems to have this really thick texture compared to other available condensed milk. I have tried using the cheapest condensed milk and it does not really affect the final product so there is no need to fret. I also bake my flan bain-marie as opposed to steaming. You just have more control when you bake it. Just make sure that you submerge the baking pan ¾ of the way in a water bath. This is where a turkey roaster doubles as the water bath. Also, make sure that you use hot water for the water bath. There are several flavored variations of leche flan but I'm going to stick to the original version for now. I think perfecting the original version is a good place to start and once you know the basics of flan making, fiddling with the recipe to suit your tastes won't be a problem.
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
6 egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
1 + ¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Take one cup of sugar and melt in a 9-inch
round pan over a low
flame. Be patient and
go slow to avoid burning the sugar. You want to caramelize the sugar
so that it coats the whole pan. Use more sugar if needed to achieve an even layer of caramel. Let cool and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. With a wire
whisk, mix the custard mixture until the eggs are fully incorporated. Do not beat.
3. Pour the custard mixture though a fine sieve over the caramelized
sugar in the 9-inch baking pan. Cover with foil.
4. In a preheated oven at 300°F, bake the flan bain-marie for one hour.
Check the flan by jiggling the pan (yes, jiggling is a technical culinary
term) to determine if the top middle layer is set. Continue checking
every 10 minutes until you are confident that it is of the right
5. Remove from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Once
cooled, chill it in the fridge for at least four hours.
6. To serve, run a knife on the side of the pan and invert onto a tray.