Of the many Filipino desserts that have graced tables at family reunions and Christmas parties, Leche Flan is one of the most popular and most loved. In fact, it even ranks first on my list of personal favorites.
Flan is a custard dessert known for its milky, sweet taste and the spongey, gelatin-like texture. It is made with milk, eggs, and a whole lot of sugar. Flan is popular in places with Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino origins, which makes it no surprise to find its popularity here in Filipino cuisine. Almost like panna cotta or the Dutch vla, Leche Flan’s smooth consistency makes for an altogether satisfying bite.
Flan is a creamy custard dessert. With its trademark caramel coating, it is a sweet and decadent dish everyone can enjoy. You can cook flan in many different ways, be it the traditional method of steaming or even baking it in the oven.
And if you don’t have an oven? That’s not a problem either! This easy leche flan recipe doesn’t require any baking time in the oven. That being said, it will still come out just as deliciously.
There are two important parts to making a Flan recipe. Before we make a good and consistent flan, we have to make a good, sticky sweet caramel sauce.
To accomplish the first component of the dish, we start with two ingredients: sugar and water. Put 8 tablespoons of granulated white sugar in a saucepan, setting it to a medium heat. Adding water according to how thick you want your flan to be. The more water you put into your mixture, the less viscous your caramel becomes. For this recipe I use 2 ½ tablespoons.
Cooking and stirring your caramel requires a lot of attention, because you don’t want your sugar to burn! Keep stirring until the mixture is at your desired thickness, and the color is a gorgeous medium brown. And there you have it: your caramel is ready!
Pour your caramel into the molds or pans you’re using to shape your flan; whether it’s glass, metal, or ceramic, any work as long as you’re able to get your desired shape. Ramekins are also a good idea. Make sure to evenly spread your caramel across the surface of your mold by tilting it every so often. Once it’s ready set it aside.
Now that you have one main component of your leche flan, it’s time to take the other: the flan itself! Start this by beating cracking 2 eggs into a bowl and beating them with a wire whisk; if you want to use an electric whisk, that is also doable. You can also use a fork, but that might take extra time. As you’re beating the eggs, add in your 6 tablespoons of sugar as well. The eggs’ texture has to be completely smooth and lumpless; once you have achieved that, set it aside and prepare the rest of the needed ingredients.
Microwave ¼ cup of water for about 35 seconds in a separate bowl. In this water we’re going to put our ½ ounce of unflavored (and also uncolored) gelatin powder. Whisk it well until the powder dissolves, and also set it aside.
Put a saucepan on medium heat and pour in your 1 ¼ cups of evaporated milk. We want the milk to simmer, not boil, so don’t put too much heat on the stove. While this is happening, we begin a process called tempering. Scoop around 5 to 6 tablespoons of the milk a tablespoon at a time. Otherwise, the egg might end up being cooked and hardened! Pour it into our egg and sugar mixture, stirring it well and thoroughly. When two ingredients at different temperatures are combined at a slow pace, the component with the lower temperature slowly rises to meet the other’s.
Once you have mixed the egg, sugar, and spoonfuls of milk well enough, return that mixture back into the saucepan (slowly, carefully!) with the remaining milk. Whisk it together and blend it well. As you’re whisking, gradually add the gelatin mixture you had made to the saucepan; lower the heat on your stove and let that mixture sit for 1 minute, while also ensuring that it doesn’t boil.
Transfer that mixture back into your bowl. Add your 7.6 ounces of all purpose cream or table cream and your 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. This makes the dish more fragrant. The sweet smell of leche flan is always impossible to resist! Adding the all purpose cream last helps cool down the mixture’s already hot temperature. You can also reduce the bubbles in the mixture by skimming.
When you have mixed together the last of the ingredients, it’s time to scoop your mixture and pour it into your caramel molds. The only step left would be to solidify it; to do that, cover your molds with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Come next morning, your leche flan will have solidified, and is ready to become the perfect treat for you and the rest of your family. Share and enjoy!
No Steam Easy Flan
- 2 pieces eggs
- ½ ounce unflavored gelatin powder uncolored
- 7.6 ounces all-purpose cream
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 8 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- Make the caramel by combining sugar and water in a saucepan. Apply heat. Continue cooking while stirring until the mixture thickens and the color turns medium brown. This is now the caramel.
- Pour the caramel into separate molds. (Note: you may use glass, metal, or ceramic baking pans as molds for the flan. Using ramekins is also a good idea.) Tilt the mold to spread caramel evenly. Set aside.
- Start making the flan by cracking the eggs into the bowl. Beat using a wire whisk. Gradually add sugar. Continue beating until mixture gets well blended. Set aside.
- Microwave ¼ cup the water for 35 seconds. Combine powdered gelatin and water. Mix well by stirring. Set aside.
- Pour milk into a pan. Apply heat until it goes into a simmer. (Note: do not apply too much heat. We want the milk to only be below boiling point).
- Scoop around 5 to 6 tablespoons of warm milk (1 tablespoon at a time) into the bowl with sugar and eggs. Continue to stir the mixture. (Note: This process is also known as tempering. Two ingredients with different temperatures are gradually combined in order to slowly rise to the same temp.)
- Pour the mixture from the bowl into the pan. Continue stirring until well blended.
- Gradually add gelatin mixture while stirring. Continue cooking in low heat for 1 minute. Turn off heat.
- Transfer mixture back to the bowl. Add all-purpose cream and vanilla extract. Stir until well blended. Remove bubbles by skimming.
- Pour the flan mixture into the molds. Cover each mold with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Serve for dessert. Share and enjoy!