sugar2 tbsp
 egg yolks10 whole
 vanilla1 tbsp
 condensed milk1 can
 water1 can


small saucepan or skillet
small baking dish
large baking pan
mixing bowl
jelly strainer bag or equivalent
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.