We always tend to remember food from our childhood where a few recipes stand out and stay as lifetime favorites. For me as a kid, one of my all-time Filipino/Spanish desserts is flan or leche flan, as Filipinos often call the dish. I like my flan a certain way — sturdy (not soggy or runny), right shade of yellow (not too bright or too pale), and not super sweet. Picky, you might say…
Not too long ago, I decided to take up the challenge of making my own flan, partly because I wanted to see whether or not I can make one that’s as good as those that my aunts made when I was kid. While I cannot objectively tell you how my flan turned out, I can honestly say that my girls devoured them — an overall positive sign.
To make flan, I followed the Joy of Cooking recipe, which is as follows:
Flan with Condensed Milk
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
One 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups of water
Zest of 1/2 Lime, removed in large strips
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of Salt
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 – Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2 – Prepare caramel by combining in small heavy saucepan without stirring the sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Do this over medium heat, swirling the pan gently as the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should not boil until sugar is blended. Increase the heat to high and bring syrup to a rolling boil, cover the pan tightly and boil for two minutes. Uncover the pan and cook until the caramel darkens. Gently stir once again and cook until caramel turns into deep amber color. Then, coat 2 to 2 1/2 quart mold with caramel.
3 – Combine in a saucepan the milk, 1 1/2 cups of water, lime zest, cinnamon stick and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer gently for five minutes.
4 – Remove from heat, cover and let stand until just warm. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup with pouring tip.
5 – Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla until blended. Gradually whisk into the milk mixture. Pour into the caramel-lined molds (see #2).
6 – Bake in a warm water bath until firmly set in the center, about 45 to 55 minutes for individual cups or 50 to 70 minutes for a single dish.
7 – Cool and unmold the flan.
This dish is pretty easy to make with the caramel preparation as most challenging step. If you feel like adding a little Spanish/Filipino touch to your dessert menu, I highly recommend making this dish. Yes, it’s indulgent but oh so good…