Nope…that Flan in my title is not a misspelled word. I’m talking about my new Leche flan, a type of egg custard dessert made of milk and eggs. Leche flan is a favorite dessert for a Filipino party or special occasions.
So….what does this (old) picture of an old fort have to do with Filipino Leche Flan?
Sometime ago, I read about the use of egg white for construction of these old Spanish forts and Spanish colonial era churches. The egg whites were used as a type of mortar to hold the stones together.
With so many old Spanish era churches in the Philippines, there must have been an enormous amount of leftover egg yolks during construction.
And not to waste anything…dessert anyone?
How about egg-yolk leche flan, or another favorite yolk-only Filipino treat like the candy called “yema” (ingredients are egg yolks, milk and sugar).
We have made traditional Philippine leche flans, which is ultra rich and made entirely of egg yolks — many recipes call for up to 12 yolks!
But since we now live in the modern era and have advanced beyond using egg whites in our building techniques….I think it is OK to use the whole egg in making flans (unless you just love to separate eggs and make meringues).
I now make my flan using an easy recipe adapted from a condensed milk company. The recipe calls for:
- 3 whole eggs (yes only 3! And update May, 2014 — readers also report using 4 whole eggs for a richer flan)
- One 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
- One 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk.
And that’s it.
After mixing the 3 main ingredients, I add either a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, or a touch of nutmeg or cardamom. You can also add a bit of orange zest. Or nothing else if none of those appeal to you.
I am not an expert at sharing recipes, so this assumes you have already made flan before…which requires first making caramel. Caramel on the pan bottom makes the flan a golden brown–instead of a boring cream color, since the flan is steamed in a water container in the oven.
To save time on the caramel part, I make the caramel (1/3 cup sugar) directly on the metal baking pan I will use for the flan. I use a standard round or square metal cake pan. Place metal pan directly on burner and slowly —starting on low heat —melt and stir the 1/3 cup of sugar, stirring until you get a liquid, lovely brown caramel color (fascinating how that dry white sugar turns into liquid golden caramel). Spread caramel evenly on bottom of pan and pour in the egg mixture.
Place the flan pan into a larger pan filled with about 1/2″ of water. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Note: it may take up to 1 hour to cook, depending on your oven. You can do the toothpick test — insert a toothpick into the middle of the flan — if it comes out clean, the flan is done, if it is still runny, bake longer until firm.
Cool completely, run a knife along edges, carefully flip to a serving plate, cut and serve.
There will be a bit of caramel liquid surrounding the flan. It is a little silkier in texture than traditional flans, but overall, super yummy.
And anything with coconut milk is Filipino enough for this Lola —-and less 9 egg yolks too! Let me know what you think.
Related: Lola Jane’s Filipino food posts:
- Champorado origins – a chocolate rice porridge and favorite Filipino breakfast
- The Ube, and why Filipinos love purple food!
- Banana Leaves and Sweets
- Corn and cheese ice cream, anyone?
- About Sinangag, and how much I missed rice while in boot camp in the US Air Force
- Halo-Halo – unique iced tropical treat
- Burgers…and Bangus? The bangus fish is often thought of as a Philippine national symbol
- About ginamos and tuyo…and can you bring in your luggage when traveling to the US