Everything You Need To Know About Making Leche Flan This Christmas

Making the perfect leche flan every time is possible.

IMAGE Karishma Etong

There are few desserts more loved by Filipinos than leche flan. It’s a guilty pleasure that makes you want an entire llanera for yourself. What’s wonderful about the leche flan is that it’s actually easy to make. Four ingredients make the most basic of the luscious flan but even that can transform into a disaster if done wrong.

If you’re feeling less than confident about making your own this holiday season, here are all the tips you need to cook the best tasting, the creamiest, and the most perfect leche flan.  

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Cook the sugar until amber in color.
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1 Caramelize your sugar until it’s a dark amber color and almost burnt.

The biggest mistake people make when making the caramel is that they either don’t caramelize the sugar enough or they burn the sugar. There's a thin line between the two stages of caramelized sugar so keeping an eagle-eye on the sugar and trusting your nose should help you cook the perfect caramel. The sugar should be cooked until all its granules have melted, its color has turned golden, looks translucent, and is almost burnt to give the sugar a slight bitterness which is the perfect complement to the sweetness from both the caramel and the flan. 

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It's easy to separate an egg yolk from the egg white.
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2 Use egg yolks create the creamiest flan.

Yes. It’s the egg yolks that result in the creamiest leche flan. While you can certainly make a leche flan with the egg whites, you won’t achieve the creamiest version you can make.

Why not save those egg whites for another baking project? Here are a few ideas:

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Evaporated milk is a concentrated milk that's unsweetened.
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3 The milk you use is just as important as the egg yolks.

There are really only four ingredients in a leche flan so use the real thing. Look for the cans or packs labeled with the word “milk”, not “creamer”, so you know that you’re using real milk and not the non-dairy variant. It matters with the final texture and taste of your flan.

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4 Measurements are important: go large. 

While it’s important to know what ingredients to use in a recipe, it may not taste the way it should if you don’t use the right amounts. According to Heny Sison, the magic number of 9-1-1 is the perfect recipe ratio for leche flan ingredients. Not only that, use large eggs and a large can of each of the milks for your ratio to be as accurate as intended. 

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Use a sieve or a strainer to remove any lumps from your mixture.
Photo by Pixabay

5 Strain the batter and remove bubbles.

Once you have your batter, use a strainer or sieve to not only filter out any lumps but also to pop any bubbles. Any bubbles that escape the sieve you can remove with a spoon after you pour into each mold and covering each with foil.

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A gentle simmer means the pot of water is on low enough heat to just create some steam.
Photo by Pixabay.com

6 Gently steam or bake in a water bath.

When steaming leche flan, you always want the water to be at a gentle simmer. All this means is that the flame or heat should be low enough to keep the water hot but high enough that the water develops small bubbles and creates steam. If baking, remember to add a water bath which should reach at least half up the sides of the molds.

You can check if your leche flan is done by uncovering the foil and then gently jiggling the mold. If the center is still not set, you’ll see it jiggle so re-cover with foil and steam for several more minutes until the center is set before removing from the steamer or oven. 

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7 Always run a knife around the edges before releasing and serving. 

Now that you’ve cooked the leche flan, let the flans cool before running a knife around the edges of the flan and turning it over on a serving platter.

That tip is only if you have the time or the patience.

Did you know that you don’t have to wait for the leche flan to completely cool? If you’re too impatient to wait until the next day to eat the leche flan, go ahead and run a knife around the flan and turn it out as soon as its cool enough to handle. It's just like eating a warm custard, and you'll discover it's just as good warm as it is cold.

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With all these tips in mind, any leche flan you make will be the ultimate dessert that you will not only enjoy, your family, friends, and any guests who sample your custards will be feeling the love as well.

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