Crème caramel, caramel custard, caramel flan and leche flan is the same dish eaten throughout the world. It is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is a custard with a hard caramel top. The sugar syrup is cooked to caramel stage and poured into the mold before adding the custard base. It is usually cooked in a bain-marie on a stove top or in the oven in a water bath. It is turned and served with the caramel sauce on top.
In the Philippines, leche flan, literally means milk flan — it is a heavier version of the Spanish flan made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. Leche flan is usually steamed over an open flame or stove top, although rarely it can also be seen baked. Leche Flan is a staple dessert in Filipino feasts.
We all have encountered problems making leche flan, sometimes it is too bubbly, too soft, too firm, too expensive, along with many other issues. Imitation leche flan also exists, it is thickened with gelatin rather than eggs.
Here are some tips to help you address the following issues and make a successful leche flan.
- this is a common problem since you have to mix the custard very well, but mixing forms bubbles, so just strain the custard using a fine strainer 3 times
- when you pour the custard into the mold, pour it close to the bottom of the mold so it will not create a waterfall effect or more bubbles
- don’t steam it, it is better to bake it in the oven using a bain-marie, the temperature is controlled, and the mixture will not over heat and create bubbles (using a bain-marie makes better custards guaranteed)
2.) Too Soft
- though I like my leche flan to be soft, I don’t like it too soft, this happens when your leche flan is undercooked
- too soft also happens when you lack eggs and milk solids, the more milk solids/premium your milk is, the more dense your leche flan will be
3.) Too firm
- check your flan in the oven, remove it once it starts to set in the middle, it should still be a little jiggly, it will continue cooking when you take it out of the oven
- if you remove your leche flan in the oven when it is fully set, it will be too firm when it cools
- check your mold, small molds take a shorter amount of time to cook, while bigger molds take a lot longer
Here’s our tried and tested Leche Flan recipe using Angel Condensed Milk and Angel Evaporated Filled Milk
3/4 cup sugar
1-410 ml Angel Evaporated Filled Milk
2 whole eggs
1 can Angel Condensed Milk
1/4 teaspoon grated dayap rind
Preheat oven to 350F.
Pour the sugar into two llaneras then heat oven medium flame until it caramelizes. Set aside.
In a bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients. Strain twice. Then pour into the llaneras. Cover with aluminum foil.
Cook in a bain-marie* for 45 minutes or until firm.
*Also called water bath, this is a method of cooking where a pan or container of food is placed in a shallow pan with hot water then placed to bake in an oven or on a stove.