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Leche Flan is a dessert made-up of eggs and milk with a soft caramel on top. It resembles crème caramel and caramel custard. This delicious dessert is known throughout the world.It has been a regular item in the menu of most restaurants because of its taste, ease in preparation and long shelf life. It can also be added as a component to build other great tasting dessert creations.
Leche Flan is the top dessert in the Philippines. The dining table won’t be complete without it especially during celebrations such as parties and town fiestas. I remember the Leche Flan that my Lola Belen makes when I was still living in Las Pinas. It really tasted so rich and heavenly. Everyone in our clan always request her to prepare it during special occasions. I’m lucky because my wife knows how to do a good one too. This is actually her recipe. If I did it my way, you might be having Leche Flan that tastes like Egg Pie instead.
What is the difference between Leche flan and creme caramel?
It is a classic Filipino dish that was adopted from the creme caramel of European origins. However, there is a difference between these desserts. Leche flan, for one, does not use cream. And it mainly relies on evaporated milk and condensed milk for the creamy flavor. You also use condensed milk to add a level of sweetness aside from the sugar in the recipe. Furthermore, creme caramel tastes lighter. While Leche flan, at its best and most authentic, usually tastes a bit heavier, with a rich flavor.
You make this with the process of baking caramel on the bottom of a custard mold. And it is a sweet custard dessert that leaves you wanting more. This is because other than the fact that it is delectably inviting in its rich, sugary flavor, it is traditionally served in a llanera. And while this oblong metal container is very convenient for the baking process, its small size often results in careful division of the dessert among a group of people who want to share the popular custard.
But of course, there is always the option of simply making more. And if you’re looking for a clear and simple guide to making this luscious dessert, I have you covered! Keep scrolling if you would like to know more about Leche flan. And eventually you can go on to cooking it with me with a recipe that’s easy to follow.
Where did Leche flan actually come from?
In the 1500s, the Spanish colonized the Philippines. Because of their rule spanning for about 300 years, the Spanish influences had permeated themselves in many parts of Philippine culture. And this, of course, includes the cooking.
During the Spanish colonization, several Catholic missionaries came over to build churches in the Philippines. And they largely used egg whites to build msot of these churches. This is because they can be a strong adhesive when mixed with quicklime. But because of the widespread usage of egg whites, they had to find ways to utilize the egg yolks left behind.
Of course, one of the essential ingredients of a leche flan are the egg yolks. And this was how the dish was born. With leche meaning milk, the original term for the dessert was actually Leche de flan. The direct translation for this was “flan milk”. With time, they shortened the term to leche flan. And the chilled custard with caramelized sugar became even more popular with time.
Soon, the American colonization took place, which also brought about some changes for the Leche flan. Because of the arrival of canned food products, such as canned condensed milk and canned evaporated milk, most recipes now call for these ingredients strongly to create a classic Leche flan. This resulted in the largely rich, and dense taste and texture of the dessert we now know and love.
But as much as it might be difficult to get tired of this sweet treat, there are other variations you might want to consider trying to make, yourself!
How to Cook Leche Flan
Making your own leche flan can be easy if you follow the recipe below and watch the cooking video. Start by beating the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. You can do it the manual way using a fork or use a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Ensure that the eggs are smooth. Gradually add the milk. Start with the condensed milk followed by the fresh milk and vanilla extract. Continue to beat all the ingredients in the bowl until these are well blended. Set this aside for the meantime while you prepare for the next process.
Grab your llanera or baking pan and place some sugar on it. Heat it over a stove top while holding the pan. Wear oven gloves to protect your hands. You will need to heat it until the sugar melts and turns into caramel. Once the happens, spread the caramel evenly on the llanera or mold that you are using. Slowly add the mixture into each mold and then cover the mold with foil.
The last process is to steam the mold. Simply arrange all the mold in a steamer and steam for a good 30 minutes or so until the mixture turns into yummy flan. At this point, you will decide if you want to dig in right away, or let it cook down a bit. I usually try to control myself at this point and wait until it cools down. I then place the flan in the refrigerator for best results.
This rendition is great for situations wherein you’d like to make more than one serving of Leche flan because you can actually cook with more container options. Because this version uses an oven instead of the steaming method, all oven-safe molds like cake pans can be utilized. Despite this, the flavor remains as tempting and delicious as ever– smooth, full and creamy inside out. You will also have to take note of a particular step in baking for this recipe, which is using a water bath. You need to do this so that your custard won’t crack in the process of baking.
Leche flan, by itself, is already a mouthwateringly sweet and lovely dish to have on its own. But mixed with an equally popular classic Filipino dessert or snack? Perhaps even better! The Leche Puto variation utilizes the more solid, cake-y texture of the puto to blend well with the creaminess of our custard dessert. This will make for a fantastic, but easy to execute dessert for after dinner or during a special occasion. Only taking one hour in total to make, the Leche Puto recipe is a dish you’ll want to try making for your family.
What do you think of this recipe? Let us know in the comments!
- 10 pieces eggs
- 1 can condensed milk (14 oz)
- 1 cup fresh milk or evaporated milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Using all the eggs, separate the yolk from the egg white (only egg yolks will be used).
- Place the egg yolks in a big bowl then beat them using a fork or an egg beater
- Add the condensed milk and mix thoroughly
- Pour-in the fresh milk and Vanilla. Mix well
- Put the mold (llanera) on top of the stove and heat using low fire
- Put-in the granulated sugar on the mold and mix thoroughly until the solid sugar turns into liquid (caramel) having a light brown color. Note: Sometimes it is hard to find a Llanera (Traditional flan mold) depending on your location. I find it more convenient to use individual Round Pans in making leche flan.
- Spread the caramel (liquid sugar) evenly on the flat side of the mold
- Wait for 5 minutes then pour the egg yolk and milk mixture on the mold
- Cover the top of the mold using an Aluminum foil
- Steam the mold with egg and milk mixture for 30 to 35 minutes.
- After steaming, let the temperature cool down then refrigerate
- Serve for dessert. Share and Enjoy!