Weekend Recipe: Creamy Leche Flan
Hold onto your hats – you are about to create something crazy delicious.
In the Philippines, Leche Flan is a favourite dessert and one served at most celebrations.
Authentic leche flan (or Filipino-style crème caramel) is rich and creamy and is classically steamed; however, baking in a water bath works well too. Basically, leche flan (leche means milk in Spanish) is an egg custard that when flipped upside down features deep golden caramel top and caramel sauce that cascades down the sides of the pale and creamy base.
The history of this dish, like many Filipino dishes has roots in Spain and a similar flan is very popular in Mexico.
Easy to make with a few tips, this dessert is a showstopper and will become an instant favourite. Leche flan is traditionally cooked in an oval shaped plan called an llanera. If unavailable, you can use a round cake or Bundt pan.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
10 egg yolks, room temperature
1 10-oz can condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Create a water bath in a large roaster where water will come up halfway on the baking dish.
Make the caramel first by dissolving 1/2 cup granulated sugar directly in the baking pan over low/medium heat. Be patient and try to only swirl the pan occasionally before it melts. (*Note: I also think melting the sugar in the microwave with a splash of water and then pouring into the pan would work). Once golden colour, remove from heat and shake as best you can to distribute evenly (it hardens fast).
Whisk the 10 egg yolks until just combined. Stir in the can of condensed milk and then add evaporated milk, vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and mix well. The goal is to not have any bubbles, so do not whisk hard and stir to just combine. Then add a pinch of salt and stir again. Using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, pour egg mixture into baking pan on top of caramel. Again – be careful not to create any air bubbles. Place in water bath and into the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes (check at 30) or until the flan is set (firm but still jiggly in the middle kind of like a cheesecake).
Remove from oven and cool and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Choose a lovely plate to serve your masterpiece. And then run a sharp knife around the edges of your pan to loosen the flan before inverting into a platter to serve.
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