mom’s leche flan recipe (filipino condensed milk flan)

mom’s leche flan recipe (filipino condensed milk flan)
2 tbsp sugar
10 whole egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla
1 can condensed milk
1 can water
  • small saucepan or skillet
  • small baking dish
  • large baking pan
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • jelly strainer bag or equivalent
  • foil
This is one of my favorite desserts. From licking the emptied condensed milk cans clean, to pouring in the egg mixture into a cloth rice sack to strain, I have fond childhood memories of helping out in the kitchen to make this dish. The first spoonful always takes me back. First the cool creaminess hits your tongue. Then you breathe in with your mouth closed and you feel just a hint of the burnt caramel that was used in it. The technique is involved, but the ingredients are simple, and the flavors are rich, subtle, and perfectly balanced.
Pull out a small and large baking pan. The large baking pan needs to be big enough to create a water bath around the small baking pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Fill the percolator with water and turn it on to boil.
Over medium low heat, warm the sugar in the small skillet until it bubbles and turns a deep brown. Carefully spoon out the caramelized sugar and evenly distribute it along the bottom and sides of the small baking pan. Move quickly because the sugar hardens quickly. Rest the small baking pan inside the large one.
Combine the yolks, vanilla, and condensed milk. Fill the emptied can of condensed milk with fresh cool water and add it to the mixture. Combine everything with a whisk.
Pour the egg mixture into a jelly strainer bag and squeeze it into the caramel-lined baking dish. Cover the small baking pan with foil.
Transfer the nested baking pans into the oven. Fill the large baking pan 2/3 high with hot water. Bake the leche flan, covered, for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes uncovered. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Cook for longer if needed, but be careful not to overcook. Let it rest in the oven for 5 minutes before carefully pulling it out to cool.
Cool the leche flan to room temp, then chill in the fridge covered overnight.
At serving time, run a paring knife around the perimeter to loosen. Invert the flan to unmold. Serve chilled.
With the leftover egg whites, you can make consomme, pisco sours, or egg white omelets. You can also freeze them for later use.If you don’t have a jelly strainer bag, you can use layers of cheesecloth. My mom used to use a cloth rice sack. The straining step is important as it helps with the fine texture.I learned from watching Barefoot Contessa that the water bath is called a bain marie. This technique helps ensure a gentle and even cooking temperature.The next time I make this, I will experiment with less vanilla, fresh vanilla, and different cooking times. I’ll probably keep the temperature the same though. Proteins, such as egg yolks, get tough when cooked too quickly. I’d rather cajole it into cooking at a lower temp for longer than risk ruining the creamy texture or making bubbles in the flan.