Carving for the perfect sweet treat of the leche flan? Rich, smooth and creamy with golden caramel toppings? This classic Filipino dessert is made of eggs and milk with a light caramel on top. It looks like cème caramel and caramel custard. This scrumptious dessert is popular all over the world. It was a popular item on the menu of most Philippine restaurants because of its flavor and easy preparation. Nowadays many Filipinos have tried to collaborate with other Filipino sweets such as “graham de leche,” a mix of leche flan and mango float. Leche flans are also widely used for halo-halo dessert in the Philippines. Yet it’s a satisfying sweet treat to eat the leche flan itself.
WHAT IT IS LECHE FLAN?
Leche flan is very popular with many Filipino festivals and social gatherings. It was first introduced to the Philippines after the Spanish colonization, but it is thought to have origins in regions neighboring Spain and France. As several sweets (including our favorite cheesecake), the life of Flan started during the Roman Empire. The Romans were the first to domesticate chickens and found themselves in the midst of an egg surplus. So they used methods that the Greeks studied to create new egg-based recipes.
These recipes, as you might guess, have resulted in a number of dishes and desserts, including flan. Most varieties of the dessert were tasty rather than sticky. Yet a few early dishes included the only sweetener of the day: honey. And when the Romans practically dominated much of Europe, their traditions, beliefs, and recipes went with them. When the Europeans came to America, Flan was one of the many treasures they introduced to the newfound nation. South, Central and North Americans would embrace flan as the foreign dessert of “La Raza.” Mexicans, in particular, would turn flan into a daily dish. Nowadays, apart from being eaten on its own as a sweet treat, parts of leche flan can also be added to halo halo, another popular Filipino dessert.
HOW TO COOK LECHE FLAN USING WHOLE EGGS
There are a lot of ways to make a leche flan, but this recipe will promise you that it will be the finest and richest, smoothest and creamiest leche flan you will ever taste in your whole life. Most milk flans are made from egg yolks and milk. But what’s going to happen to the egg whites? Some might discard it. But for this recipe, you will be using the whole eggs. Yes! You have read it right, whole eggs! Perhaps you’re wondering how this will be possible? It’s possible. The first thing to do is to prepare all the necessary ingredients, including whole eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and sugar. Sugar is going to be made for caramel.
Break the eggs in a clean dry mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl is absolutely dry. Beat the eggs gently and add the condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla. Vanilla is actually going to help enhance the aroma of your leche flan. You will caramelize the sugar in a sauce pan. Be cautious about caramelizing the sugar. Be sure it is in a low-heat fire, as this would burn the sugar right away. Never heat the pan before adding the sugar. As the sugar slowly caramelizes, stir slowly with the wooden ladle, not the metal ladle, as it can raise the temperature of the heat. Stir in the sugar until it has melted completely and turns into a golden brown.
When fully caramelized, turn off the fire and immediately move the caramel to the tin molder, or we call it “llanera.” Spread the caramel evenly and put aside for a bit. Pour the egg mixture over the llanera with caramel, around 3⁄4 full. Cover your llanera with aluminum foil. Covering the llanera will help cook your leche flan evenly. Do not forget to boil water on your steamer before putting your leche flan. Place the leche flan in a steamer and cook for at least 25-35 minutes. When done, remove it from the steamer and let it cool down for a bit. Chill your leche flan until it has been completely set. When it’s completely set, run over a knife on the sides of your leche flan. Place a plate on top of the llanera, just like covering it. Flip it upside down to remove the leche flan from its llanera and tadaaaaa! Your smooth and creamy milk flan is ready to serve. Enjoy it!
By the way, if you don’t have a steamer, there’s another way to prepare your leche flan. Actually, you could bake it. Yes! You read it correctly, you’re going to bake your leche flan with an oven. How is it possible? It’s the bain-marie method, or we used to call it a water bath. Place the water just enough to cover the sides of the llanera in a rectangular tub, then arrange the llanera with leche flan mixture properly. Bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes. By submerging the tin in the water, this prevents the custard from cracking. If you do not have llanera as your leche flan molder, you can use ramekins or baking pans or something that is a safe oven molder.
HOW TO CARAMELIZE SUGAR
- Place sugar in a sauce pan.
- Set the pan on the stove pot over low heat and wait for a while until some of the sugar turns to caramelize.
- Stir in gently the sugar until all sugar caramelized and turns into golden or light brown.
- Pour immediately to llanera and allow to cool and harden.
Other way to caramelize your sugar using dry method:
- Place 3 tablespoons of sugar in each llanera.
- Set the llanera on the stove pot over low heat and using tong, move llanera repeatedly over flames until sugar is melted and turns to golden or light brown.
- Continuously tilt and swirl the llanera to ensure even melting and to distribute the liquid on the bottom of the mold.
- Remove from heat and allow caramel to cool and harden.
- In a saucepan, combine one cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.
- Cook over low to medium heat, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until sugar dissolves completely and turns to a clear liquid.
- When the sugar dissolves and syrup is simmering, continue to cook without stirring it for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the color changes to golden or light yellowish color. Use the handle of the pan to gently tilt the pan off the heat and allow even browning.
- Pour immediately in llanera and allow to cool and harden.
- In a microwaveable safe bowl, combine water and sugar. Stir well until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Place inside the microwave and set the timer to 6 to 7 minutes or until the color changes to golden or light yellow color.
- Pour immediately to llanera and allow to cool and harden.
Whole Eggs Leche Flan
5 pieces large eggs
1 can 370ml Evaporated milk
1 can 390g condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
- Break the eggs in a clean, dry mixing bowl. Whisk gently the eggs until it is well beaten. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add a can of condensed milk and evaporated milk to your egg mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Strain the mixture about 2 to 3 times to separate some undesirable egg whites. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, caramelize sugar in low heat. Stir until it turns light brown.
- Once it turns into light brown, turn off the fire. Transfer right away the caramel to leche flan molder or llanera to avoid crystallization of caramel. Spread the caramel evenly and let it cool for a bit.
- Pour the egg mixture to leche flan molder or llanera with caramel for about ¾ full and cover it with aluminum foil. Transfer the leche flan onto the steamer. Steam for about 25-35 minutes in low heat fire.
- 1After steaming, let it cool for a while. Place inside the refrigarator and chill it until ready to serve.
- 1When the leche flan had completely set, run a knife around the edges of the leche flan.
- Place a plate on top of the molder then flip it upside down and remove the leche flan molder or llanera.
- Serve it and enjoy!
- Break the egg first in a separate bowl before mixing it with other eggs to make sure that the eggs do not mix if there is a rotten egg.
- Careful to make caramel sugar. It could burn your skin as soon as it is touched.
- Another way to prepare a leche flan is by using an oven. You may bake your leche flan in the oven using the bain-marie process or water bath. Just place your leche flan in a baking pan with enough water.
- Stir in one direction to prevent adding too much air to the mixture as it can create bubbles on the flan when cooked. Tap the llanera on the counter a couple times and let it stand for a few minutes to release the trapped air pockets.
- To ensure a smooth consistency, strain the mixture using a cheese cloth or a fine-mesh sieve to eliminate any leftover egg whites.
- Traditionally, Leche Flan is served chilled. Serve as an after-meal dessert, as an afternoon snack or as a topping for iced sweets such as halo halo or mais con hielo.
- It should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Keep in the llanera and cover with foil to preserve the freshness.