Leche Flan or Crème Caramel is a steamed egg-based creamy Filipino dessert made with eggs, milk and caramelized sugar, vanilla extract. It is steamed in a mould or baking pan called Llanera. Leche flan can be considered a constant dessert since it is almost present in all types of celebrations. The creaminess of the leche flan drizzled with some sweetness of the caramelized sugar makes it one of the best desserts ever. One small bite of leche flan will leave you wanting more.
Leche flan has been greatly influenced by the Spanish cuisine. This dessert was adapted from the Spanish flan de leche. The word “leche” translates to “milk” in Spanish. This makes the leche flan a milk flan. Leche flan is also known to be the Filipino version of the world-famous creme caramel. Both recipes included a custard base and a sugar syrup topping.
Leche flans are steamed and served in small oval aluminum mold called llanera. Leche flan has been staple classic dessert for decades now. It is often served as a dessert on its own during fiestas, birthdays and other celebrations. It can also be enjoyed in other ways such as toppings for other desserts like halo-halo, ice cream flavor and in cakes and pastries.
HOW TO MAKE LECHE FLAN
Before you prepare the leche flan, prepare the llaneras first. Pour 2 tablespoons of sugar in each llaneras. Just 2 tablespoons, no more, no less. White sugar is commonly used in here but sometimes I used a mix of 1 tablespoon white sugar and 1 tablespoon brown sugar for extra caramel taste. Caramelize the sugar by heating the llaneras on top of the stove. There is no need to add water since the sugar will liquefy. Once the sugar is melting, swirl the llaneras gently to melt the other sugar particles. Do not overcook it because the sugar will burn and will produce a burnt and bitter taste.
Let’s start with the leche flan mixture. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and the egg whites. Only the egg yolks will be used in this recipe but do not throw the egg whites as you can use them in other recipes. Leche flan made with pure egg yolk is better since it is tender, pleasantly sweet and flavorful and has a more attractive golden yellow brown color unlike the leche flan made from whole eggs which is stiffer, pleasantly sweet but less flavorful and has a lighter golden brown color.
Transfer the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend slowly so there will no bubble formation. When the leche flan mixture is ready, strain them twice for a smoother resulting texture. Pour the mixture to the llaneras. Fill up to 80% of the llaneras.
Before placing in a steamer, cover the llaneras with aluminum foil to prevent water droplets to fall in the leche flans. The water should be boiling before the llaneras are placed in the steamer. When the water is boiling, add the llaneras inside and lower the heat to the lowest level possible. Be sure to maintain the lowest heat to avoid the egg from curdling and to achieve smooth leche flan. Steam the leche flans for 30 minutes.
The reason why it is recommended to use strictly 2 tablespoons of caramelized sugar is because the solid caramelized sugar would not melt during the steaming process if it is too thick. The melting of the caramelized sugar and the cooking of the leche flan mixture must happen at the same time.
After 30 minutes of steaming, let it inside the steamer for another 20 minutes. The residual heat from the steam will cook through the leche flan. After 20 minutes, remove the leche flans from the steamer. To check the softness of the leche flan, do the toothpick test. If it came out clean, then the leche flan is cooked. Do not over steam your leche flan as it may produce a hard gel-like consistency instead of a soft one.
Chill the llaneras for at least 4 hours. When chilled, the leche flans are ready to serve. Unmold the leche flans from the llanera by flipping the llaneras over a plate. The sweet and creamy leche flan must fall onto the plate on its own, drizzled by the caramelized sugar sauce. You can serve the leche flan in individual plates for immediate consumption or use as an ingredient or toppings for other recipes.
Leche FlanCourse: Desserts
10 egg yolks
1 condensed milk (390g)
1 evaporated milk (370 ml)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or calamansi/lemon juice)
sugar for caramel
- Caramelize 2 tablespoons of sugar in each llanera under low heat. Swirl the sugar into the llanera for faster caramelization. Set aside and let it cool.
- For the leche flan mixture, add the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the egg yolks gently. Add the condensed milk and the evaporated milk. Mix the leche flan mixture it slowly to avoid bubbles to form in the mixture.
- Add vanilla extract to remove the eggy taste of the mixture. You can use lemon or calamansi juice as a substitute.
- Strain the leche flan mixture twice using a strainer or a cheesecloth for a finer and smoother texture.
- Pour the leche flan mixture on the llaneras with caramelized sugar. Fill up to 80% of the llanera.
- Cover the llaneras with aluminum foil to prevent water droplets to fall in the leche flan during the steaming process.
- Prepare the steaming pan. Make sure that the water is boiling before you place the leche flans inside. When the water is boiling, lower the heat to the lowest level possible. (important)
- Arrange the llaneras in the steamer. Steam for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn off the heat. Let the leche flan steam for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the leche flans from the steamer. To check the doneness of the leche flan, use the toothpick test.
- Let the leche flans chill for at least 4 hours before unmolding.
- Transfer the leche flan into a serving plate by flipping the llanera over for the leche flan to fall in the plate.
- Serve and enjoy.
- IMPORTANT: To achieve smooth and creamy leche flan, strain the flan mixture at least 2 times with the fine sieve
- Make sure that the water is already boiling putting the leche flan in the steamer. Don’t forget to lower the heat into lowest level to avoid the egg from curdling.
- USE VERY LOW HEAT when steaming leche flan.