Desserts are sweet endings for a hearty meal. It releases a feeling of pleasure or relaxation after doing all the biting, chewing and consuming good food. Humans have natural receptors for sweet taste. When a sugar molecule enters our palate, it clears out the route going to our brain and send signals to it that provokes the feeling of joy and pleasure. No wonder that fruits, chocolates, and other sweet delicacies have that delightful effect on our well-being which results in wanting more for sweet foods. It won’t hurt if we give in to our sweet tooth once in a while. One dessert that will keep you coming back for more is Leche Flan. This is one of the most loved and popular desserts being served in the Philippines. It is a special treat in every festivity. It is made up of eggs and milk with a luscious caramel on top. It has a rich, silky, smooth and creamy custard texture. It’s a melt in your mouth experience when you eat this Pinoy smasher of a dessert. It is convenient to prepare as it has a longer shelf life. The ingredients are only a few and are kitchen basics.
The origin of leche flan in the Philippines came from one of the Spanish influences in Filipino cuisine. The word leche means milk in Spanish and leche flan is a local term from the original Spanish leche de flan which means flan milk. During the Spanish era, egg whites are used in building churches. It is mixed with quicklime which makes a very strong adhesive for construction. Eventually, there was egg yolks leftover so as not to waste it, they made a dessert out of it which what is now known as leche flan or crème caramel in other countries. Interestingly, this flan as universally referred to has a very stable history attached to it. In fact, it was in ancient Rome that the first flan was originated because the Romans were the first to domesticate chickens. It was at this time that there was an overabundance of eggs. Consulting with the Greeks, they concocted several recipes and one is a custardy mixture that was known as flan. Although the Roman Empire was meant to fall, the flan has survived its downfall. It was passed on to generations and find its way through other countries like Spain, England, and France that adapted the recipe in their respective cultures to be enjoyed. In Spain, it became sweet custard with caramelized sugar syrup which was adopted in the early Filipino cuisine but not until the Americans introduced the condensed and evaporated milk in a can that gave leche flan the heavier texture and extra rich taste. The history of flan is as exciting as its taste and preparation.
Egg yolks as the primary ingredients in making leche flan has an array of vitamins and minerals to it including vitamins A, D.E, B12, K, riboflavin, iron, and folate. There has been a long debate regarding the cholesterol that is attached to the egg yolks but it has been ruled out by recent research that trans fats and saturated fats are the real culprits to having high cholesterol and not the cholesterol that is in food. Kinds of milk used in leche flan are condensed and evaporated milk. The difference between the two is that condensed has its name implies is dense and thicker because of added sugar while the evaporated milk is unsweetened, creamy and light. Although both of them went through the evaporative process wherein 60% of water content was removed. Surprisingly, condensed milk has a primary nutrient of calcium and also contains potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A. Evaporative milk likewise has 80 milligrams of calcium which is 8% of the recommended daily allowance. It also contains calcium protein that supplies energy and keeps your cell and tissue working well.
While making leche flan is easy with only a handful of ingredients, making a perfect one could be a little delicate. You need to be patient and focus on details especially if you are making it for the first time but you need not fret as there are useful tips to guide you on making your leche flan creamy and rich perfect for sharing. First off, let’s deal with the caramel syrup. This is a little tricky as a couple of things can go wrong if not handled well. The sugar can get burned and crystallized easily so it is best that you keep an eye while making it. Some do it directly by adding sugar to the tin mold. Unless you are already used to doing this method, it will be tricky for the first timer because some tin molds have a thinner lining that can turn the sugar into a bitter sludge instantly. To avoid this in your flan, it is wise that you cook the sugar in a saucepan until it becomes syrupy and distribute it to the tin mold afterward. Secondly, is to deal with the bubbles. Bubbles make the end product lumpier. The trick to avoiding air to pass through is by mixing the ingredients gently with a whisk until combined. Skim the bubbles that may settle on top and it is very important that you strain it well to remove impurities before you pour it into the mold. Lastly, is to steam the flan in low heat making sure that it cooks slowly. High heat will eventually overcook the flan and will create tiny holes in the custard. Now, that you are equipped with the knowledge of making the leche flan, you are ready to make one. Here are our recipe and the step by step guide to making the leche flan. Let’s begin.
Leche Flan Recipe
Yield 5 big flans
For the custard
- 12 egg yolks
- 300ml condensed milk
- 370ml evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla
For the caramel
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons water
1. Prepare all the ingredients
2. In a saucepan, pour in the sugar. Dissolve it over low heat and stir occasionally until it turns into syrup. Pay attention to this process so as not to burn the sugar. Once the sugar is completely dissolved add in the water until it gives out a lighter consistency
3. Be careful to transfer the syrup to the leche tins immediately while it is still hot as it hardens very quickly. Set aside
4. To prepare the custard, separate the egg yolks and egg whites
5. Gently mix the egg yolks in the bowl in a circular motion
6. Add the condensed milk followed by the evaporated milk. Mix it gently
7. Pour in the vanilla to the mixture
8. Strain the custard mixture at least 3 times to remove all the lumps
9. Pour in the mixture into flan tins
10. Cover each tin mold with aluminum foil and steam for 45 minutes on low heat
11. Insert a toothpick on the flan to test the doneness. If it comes out clean then it is ready
12. Allow it to cool. Best served chilled. Enjoy!
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 29.4 g
Saturated Fat 14.7 g
Cholesterol 691 mg
Sodium 253 mg
Total Carbohydrates 115.2 g
Sugars 113.7 g
Protein 22.5 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Wasn’t it easy to make the leche flan? If it turns out not exactly what you have expected it, comment below and we will try to analyze what went wrong. Note also that for those who made this for the first time it will likely not pass the desired finish product but as you get the hang of making it, it will be easier the next time. Practice takes time until perfection can be achieved. Give us your comments or suggestions regarding our featured recipe. Share also this recipe with your friends and family. Thank you for subscribing and watch out for more exciting recipes.
Hi, MY NAME IS...
I’m a food enthusiast and an explorer of good taste from Philippines. I invite you to create an awesome adventure to the recipes I prepared as we take on the journey of getting to know the evolution behind the food that we love through its rich heritage and the amazing people that creates it.