January 1, 2009
Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a joyous holiday season. I spent the days prior to Christmas preparing for two celebrations: my family's Noche Buena (also my baby brother's birthday) and D's family's Christmas dinner. Besides making Pancit Palabok for my brother's birthday (noodles signifies long life) and a birthday cake, I made desserts for both dinners and one of them is Leche Flan, a rich, creamy, caramel-ly sweet dessert my family goes crazy for.
Leche Flan is always expected at the dessert buffet at my family's Noche Buena celebration. It's the most requested dessert in my family not only on holidays but on any celebration. It took me several tries years ago and have finally perfected what my family thinks lives up to the Leche Flan we used to have in Manila.
Leche Flan is usually made from fresh carabao milk. I only had this once growing up when I spent summers in our province in Munoz, Nueva Ecija. I was too young, I don't remember how it tasted. In Manila, fresh milk is hard to come by so people relied on canned milk. It is also usually steamed but I find this cooking method results in creating tiny bubbles in the flan; a big no-no in my family, especially my Mom. She will refuse to serve flan that had "bubbled up" and will not eat this herself. Cooking Leche Flan in a bain marie solved this problem.
One more thing, I realized Leche Flan is very similar to a Brazilian dessert Pudim de Leite Condensada as seen in Technicolor Kitchen, one of my favorite Brazilian food blog. Now I know why my in-laws goes crazy for this dessert, too!
for the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
for the custard:
12 large egg yolks
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the caramel. Mix sugar and water together in a small saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to boil in medium high heat until golden brown in color. Then pour into mold. (I used a ring mold but you can use any oven-proof pan.) Swirl caramel around until it covers the bottom and sides of pan. Set aside to cool.
While caramel cool, bring a pot full of water to boil needed for bain marie.
In a large bowl, stir egg yolks. Add both milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine completely.
Pour mixture through a strainer into the prepared mold. The strainer will catch any egg solids and will create a smoother leche flan.
Place a roasting pan in the oven rack. Place a kitchen towel inside the pan (this will avoid slipping of your flan mold) and place your leche flan-filled mold on it. Pour the hot water in the larger pan halfway up the sides of your mold. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is set. You can jiggle your mold to test for this.
Take flan out of bain marie and let cool, about 2 hours. Then chill in refrigerator, at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, place pan in a larger pan filled with hot water for about a minute. Then invert pan into serving plate. Enjoy!