Christmas is just around the corner and I am pretty sure that many families are already planning to have leche Flan as part of their Christmas dinners and celebrations. It has always been tradition in my family to have tons of leche Flan chilling in the fridge for our dessert and for serving when people come to visit during the Christmas season. I even remember how I much I hated helping my mom out whenever she starts cooking for Christmas dinner. Her leche flan recipe entails beating the egg yolks until they become fluffy which practically means until your arms fall off (back then we still used the trusty old hand mixer). So while I love to eat leche flan, I dread the time when my mom will call out to her daughters for help in beating the egg yolks.
I basically followed the same recipe to cook leche flan for my family. Even with frequent modifications, it still consisted basically of canned milk, eggs and sugar cooked by steaming.
Inspired by Marketman’s version of leche flan, I decided to make leche flan using fresh milk instead of canned milk and cooking it using a water bath instead of steaming. I wanted to see if its something that I would like and potentially bring to our family dinner.
Here is the recipe I used to make the leche flan:
7 egg yolks (large)
1 whole egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups milk (I used fresh milk from the carton)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 small llanera (oblong-shaped metal pans)
1/4 cup sugar and water for the caramel
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Caramel topping: Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar and about 1 tbsp of water over medium heat. Wait until it bubbles and turns into a nice brown color. You have to be careful as this mixture could easily burn and then you will get bitter tasting caramel. Once done, pour the caramel into the llanera. There should be enough for 3. Set aside and this will harden after a few minutes.
For the custard: In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are well blended. I noticed that there were still some small bits of egg whites in the mixture. However, I did not strain it as this is only a trial version after all so I left it as is. Next time I will use pure egg yolks. Pour the mixture into the caramelized llaneras. You may hear some sort of cracking sound as the liquid mixture hits the hardened caramel.
Place the llaneras in a larger pan and fill the larger pan with water that comes halfway up the llaneras. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. I actually let mine cook up to 1 hour as I feared the flans were not as cooked as I wanted them to be. As a result the flans had cracks which is a sign of overcooking. So my suggestion would be to follow what the recipe states and cook for 45 minutes.
To compare this version with the one my family and I are used to, this is definitely much lighter to eat. It is so light you can finish a whole llanera in one sitting (my husband did). It reminds me more of creme brulee than traditional leche flan. The texture though was still creamy and although I used a whole egg, it was still better than what I expected.
Personally I prefer a creamier (on the heavy side) leche flan so maybe next time, I will use half milk, half cream or maybe even carabao’s milk from Marketman’s recipes.