This smooth and creamy Leche Flan is easy to make. The fussy part about the recipe is the caramelized sugar that gives the flan it’s attractive glassy caramel surface.
First, let’s talk sugar. Be careful when making caramel. Sugar when heated turns into a thick molten liquid, also known as caramel, which is about 310 to 330 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid skin contact with caramel because it will cause a severe burn injury.
The image below is a time lapse from initial boil of sugar and water to caramel stage.
My Tita in San Diego is the Leche Flan expert of the family. She will produce rich flans with that glossy caramelized surface like a boss! Her flans always come out smooth and creamy. It’s texture is rich, velvety, melt-in-your mouth delicious. It’s dessert heaven. Every time I call her to get re-oriented with ingredients and how-to’s of the recipe, she’ll say “ayyyyy! napakadali!” (ayyyyy! it’s so easy!)
How to make Leche Flan smooth and without cracks:
- Mix the ingredients slowly to prevent bubbles/frothing
- Mix in lemon zest right before pouring in mold/s to prevent curdling (milk and acid/lemon)
- Bake flan in a water bath for even cooking
- Avoid over baking to prevent cracks
I’ve chatted with some Filipino Food IG friends on how to produce the perfect flan. Surprisingly, there were some methods and tips that were contradicting. That’s a good thing! It means there are different ways to make flan, you just have to find the right method that works for you.
Here are some key points for smooth and creamy Leche Flan:
- Use the same molds for even baking
- Pour even amounts into each mold
- When baking, Leche Flan needs to bake in a water bath.
- Another method for Flan is to let it cook in a steamer rather than an oven.
- When a steamer is used, the flan should be covered in foil
- If water bath-oven method is used, the flan doesn’t have to be covered in foil
- To check for doneness, inserted toothpick in the middle should come out clean or check if the middle of the flan is firm.
Pans and Molds
The traditional pan/mold for Leche Flan is called Llanera (Lee-ya-nera), however, any rectangular or circular pan can be used.
For this recipe, I used 3 small oval llanera’s (5 1/2 x 4 inches) and a small rectangular baking tin (6 x 3 inches). Two 8 inch round cake pans or an 11x 7 inch rectangular baking dish can also be used.
Smooth and Creamy Leche Flan
Ingredients for Caramel:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Ingredients for Flan:
- 10 egg yolks
- 1 can evaporated milk 12 oz
- 1 can condensed milk 14 oz
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions for Caramel:
- Add sugar and water in a pot, do not mix
- Genty tip the pot to moisten the sugar
- Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat
- Boil sugar until light to medium amber (about 10 to 12 minutes)
- Remove from heat and carefully pour into mold/s
- With tongs or a thick oven mit, tip molds to evenly spread sugar on the bottom
- Set aside
Instructions for Flan:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F
- Stir egg yolks slowly with whisk in a large bowl to break yolks
- Add evaporated milk and sugar and stir slowly (5-10 times)
- Add condensed milk and stir slowly (5-10 times)
- Continue stirring slowly until thick yolk is incorporated in the mixture
- Add lemon zest, stir gently a few times
- Pour evenly through mesh strainer into caramelized molds
- Place molds in a deep baking dish for water bath
- Slowly pour water into baking dish, away from flans
- Water should come halfway up the molds
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until flan is firm
- Set aside to cool
- To serve, loosen flan from mold by slowly and carefully running a paring knife along the edge of of mold
- Cover the mold with a serving dish and flip it over, tap bottom gently to loosen flan from mold
Want more Filipino Dessert? Try this Easy Ube Cake Recipe
Shoutout to the following IG friends who participated in the Leche Flan huddle:
@foodwithmae – I admire her funny personality and her passion for Filipino Food and culture. I hope to be at her level of Filipino Food expertise someday. You can find out more about Mae here
@3poodlefarm – my food and baking chat sister.
@lutongpinoy – her IG feed takes me back to a lot of good memories of home cooked meals in the Philippines