This easy 4-step recipe for a Filipino fiesta dessert staple is a go-to crowd pleaser for me. Make this ahead of time and store it to chill for the next day or two and you’ll be surprised how delightfully smooth and velvety this is. Traditionally paired with Coconut Macapuno (sweetened coconut sport strings) or Sweetened Jackfruit, this dessert is both neutral in its flavour and lusciously rich in texture. I remember my Grandma steams her flan on a hot wooden-fired stove in our countryside home. She had these oval aluminum tins in which she would sprinkle sugar on and caramelise the sugar on an open fire one by one, before pouring in her flan mixture.
Her flan mixtures would have tins of condensed milk and evaporated milk, eggs, combined with sugar and some calamansi zest and juice. She mixes everything and sieves the mixture for any egg shells and whatnots to ensure the flan will be smooth when it’s cooked. Now, if you know calamansi, it is not easy to zest that tiny citrus. My grandma would painstakingly slice of the zest on each of the calamansi that she will use. She would put it after she has sieved the flan mixture to give it some speck-y aesthetics and that citrus aroma that is home for me.
A bit of a hectic technique for me to do here in my tiny Helsinki kitchen flat though, so I cook my version of this flan in the oven, on a water bath covered with foil. And my flan mixture, well, even more for the lazy ones! I have my handy stick blender and just blitz the mixture away with the citrus peel. add Everything in a bowl, and voila! No sieving needed! If you have a smoothie blender, woohoo! That works quite well with this one also!
Every time I make this at home, I have learnt that it is fair for both me and R to have it cooked in ‘individual portions’ and not make a whole pan for us. To spoon out portions of this flan from a pan is wickedly devious for us.
What’s a spoonful?
How thick is one slice?
When to stop?
Where did the rest of the flan go?
Glaring back at us with it’s citrus-specked custard cheekiness and its amber syrup, these are the things that we are bound to ask ourselves when this flan is in front us. Hence, 8 ramekins are concluded.
BUUUUT. Since it’s CHRISTMAS and I’m posting this recipe for you to make for the ‘Holidays to SHARE with families and friends,’ I’m showing you how to make a loaf pan of this yummy treat. Any pan that has a 1-litre capacity would suffice for this recipe. If you opt for individual portions, it’s totally fine as well. The recipe below is enough for 8 individual ramekins.
Here we go!
You will need:
- 1 day equivalent of good vibes (never, ever, do this on a bad day.)
- a loaf pan or 8 oven-proof ramekins
- a roasting pan big enough to fit the loaf pan (or ramekins) inside
- 200 grams white sugar
- 100 grams water
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature (for a richer flan, add 2 yolks)
- 1 can of condensed milk
- zest and juice (1 tablespoon) of half a lime
OR if you’re Filipino like me, and you happen to have that Calamondi fruit tree from IKEA, then the juice and the chopped flesh and skin (without the seed of course) is enough for this recipe.
- 375 grams full-cream milk
OR 1 can of evaporated milk (use this if you can find it at the big groceries or in Hakaniemi Asian shops here in Helsinki)
Preheat oven to 165ºC. Place the rack in the middle of the oven. Take a loaf pan and place it on a roasting pan that is big enough to fit it with a water bath.
- Combine the white sugar and water to a small pan and let it boil rapidly until it registers 160ºC on your cooking thermometre. If you don’t have a thermometre (like I did before), your syrup should be ready when its colour almost urns to a deep amber color. Pour the hot syrup on your ready loaf pan or on the individual ramekins. Set aside and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, crack the eggs on a bowl and add the condensed milk, and the citrus zest and juice. Blitz the mixture with a hand blender until they are well combined. Pour in the milk and stir. With a blender, just combine everything and process for about 20 seconds.
- Pour the mixture on the sugar crusted loaf pan or ramekins. Pour hot water halfway to the rim of the roasting pan and cover with foil.
- Carefully, place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes for the loaf pan. For the individual ramekins, bake it for about 50 minutes. To check if it’s ready, lift the foil up a bit and shake the pan a little. When the flan has a slight ‘jiggle’ in the middle, then it’s time turn off the heat and open oven door and leave the flan to cool for 2 hours in the bath. Transfer in the fridge and chill overnight.
UPDATE: Our ovens here in Helsinki apparently varies on their temperatures. I’ve an extremely temperamental oven that’s as old as me (I assumed) and has it’s own mood. Today, that I made this flan, It decided to be a tad hotter than what it said on the metre. So i got air bubbles on my flan. Regardless of that, the flan was as delicious.
For us Filipinos, having this childhood favourite dessert makes us feel that we are closer at home with our families and memories back in The Philippines. May it just be eaten as it is or be ‘especial’ with toppings, it will always remind us of happy times.
You can pair in any topping with Leche Flan really, fresh fruits and berries, on top of ice cream (yes please!), or even eat it frozen! I find making your own extra chunky berry compote (blueberries are my favourite!) topped on the flan makes for a Nordic-Homey dessert.
However it is and wherever I am, I keep my Leche Flan recipe anywhere I go and try to make it as close as to how my grandma used to make it for us. So far, I think she will be happy with what I’ve come up with here in Helsinki. ♥