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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Leche Flan

After whipping up the egg whites for the pavlova, the egg yolks were definitely not meant to be wasted. All these time I have been experimenting on cupcakes, breads and cakes, all sorts of desserts, but have never really made a lot of Filipino desserts. That's not good is it?

So the first thing that came to mind is the Filipino custard, leche flan. The sweet, smooth, creamy, silky texture makes this dessert a winner and forever present in major occasions - Christmas dinner, New Year's Eve, town fiestas, birthdays, anything worth celebrating that meant good food and good desserts (and out of the 32 teeth in an adult I think half is made of sweet teeth!) . I remember my aunt's leche flan - I can easily eat a couple of servings of those... so the standards are high, can't let myself down with this one.

The mission : create silky smooth leche flan using ramekins (in the absence of the more traditional Llanera - oval shaped metal pans.

After my usual recipe research, I went with this recipe :

5 eggyolks
2 eggs
1 can condensed milk
1 can water (use the condensed milk’s can for measuring)
1 tbsp. vanilla to add to the mixture
(bring ingredients to room temperature)

1/3 cup sugar + 1 tsp water

5 ramekins
kitchen twine

Make the caramel :
In a shallow frying pan, dissolve sugar over medium heat until it bubbles, boils and turns a nice medium brown color. Do not stir, just swirl the pan, to help it dissolve. Be careful of the heat and remember to keep your eye on this - it can easily burn. (and can give bad burns too). Pour a couple of tablespoons into the ramekins, ensuring that the bottom part is covered. (i was able to make the caramel to be slightly darker than usual for a bit of bitterness, to balance the sweetness.) Set aside.

For the custard:

organic, free range.. and whites were not 100% separated, as you can see! :)

Mix all ingredients carefully, without beating so as not to introduce air into the mixture. The lack of bubbles is the key to having a smooth flan. I used a silicon whisk and a jug and was just gently stirring, while giving the whisk small circular motions. I would occasionally check by taking the whisk out and letting the liquid drip to see if there are still unincorporated parts of the egg whites. This took quite some time (and a lot of patience, I surprised myself). Strain mixture carefully.

i used the can of the condensed milk to measure the same quantity of water

Pour onto prepared ramekins (probably just 1.5 inches high - depends on your preferred serving size)

[left] the caramel at the bottom of the ramekin and [right] the custard slowly poured on top

Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil and secure using kitchen twine.

Boil water for the steamer then lower heat to medium low. Steam for about 45 min or until a knife comes out clean.

Let cool, then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

To serve, run a non-serrated knife along the sides of the flan. Set the ramekins on a hot water bath for a couple of minutes just to melt the caramel and make the unmolding easier. Invert the mixture onto a plate in one swift motion. Cross your fingers and remove the ramekin.

Serve as it is, or garnish as personally preferred.

this one was served with a couple of fresh blueberries

Happy days :)


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