|Whole Egg Leche Flan is very creamy!|
My MIL usually sneaks into the kitchen to get a slice of this when we get together even before dinner is served on some special occasions. "It kinda grows on you," she said. (Her initial acceptance was mild, now she's kinda addicted to it, so whenever I get lots of fresh eggs from them, I make one for them.)
Some think that egg whites prevent the leche flan from turning very creamy. This is still creamy, and the outcome has a lot to do with the technique in preparation. I do it slow and low (long, 1-hr baking in a water bath on low temp of 295 deg F). Some think using the strainer is the best way to make it smooth. I (the radical me) have made use of the pulse setting of a blender (short bursts only) to make a homogenous mixture with minimal waste (Have you tried using the strainer for this purpose? Then you know how hard it is to push the eggwhite through the mesh, and how hard it is to clean it up later). I like this reecipe not only because it tastes so good in my opinion (I got the recipe from Milkmaid label sometime when I was still in high school), but also it does not make me crazy trying to figure out what to do with the egg whites (like the recipe using egg yolks only). And more importantly, egg white is mainly protein, and egg yolk is mostly cholesterol. So, I really do not want to waste protein and make the egg flan cholesterol-laden, when I can have very rich-tasting leche flan this way (any of my friends who have tasted this can attest to that. In fact, whenever we get together and they see a leche flan on the table, they blurt out "Yehey! Pinagdasal ko yan na gumawa ka ng leche flan. Buti gumawa ka!" I have tasted the yolk-only flan, and to me, it is just too rich, like the cheesecake that my SIL makes and I am not crazy about (nor is my husband, so I am not too motivated to make one). Hence, I have been making this for >20 yrs (steamed when I was in PI on moderate heat for 30 minutes covered with foil, now baked in water bath for 1 hr or so at 295 F).
UPDATE as of March 2008: I brought this as my contribution to a fund-raising activity we had at work, and according to my co-workers, many were asking who made this rich cheesecake-like dessert, and they were raving about it. It was such a big hit!
1/2 cup white sugar
4 whole eggs
1 can condensed milk (14-oz)
1 can evaporated milk (15-oz)
1 tsp vanilla (alternative: few drops of McCormick lemon extract essence)
(optional: 1 8-oz cream cheese + 1 additional egg for cheesecake-like flan)
NOTE: I prefer to use the oven, using water bath method.
1. Caramelize the sugar in an 8-inch round aluminum pan over low heat (#3 on my stove setting). You may swirl the pan around (use tongs to hold) or stir with a spoon once it starts to melt. It can easily scorch and will be bitter if that happens, so keep an eye on that (takes about 20-30 mins before it start melting, and I prefer a bit of bitterness like that of coffee).
UPDATE (11-21-08): You may want to try caramelizing sugar in the microwave. Place 1 cup of sugar in microwave-safe cup (Pyrex is ok) and add enough water (about 2-3 tbsp) to wet all of the sugar. Microwave for about 4-5 minutes, keep watching starting on the 4th minutes and wait until it turns into amber-colored liquid per your preference (if you want it lighter, stop earlier). Grab with gloves on (this is very hot!) and then pour into the pan that you are going to cook your flan in, whether small custard cups or 8-in round baking pan. (Make sure your pan sits on a towel or trivet to protect your tabletop/countertop. Quickly tilt to coat before it hardens. (Tip: You may want to let your pan sit on hot water so the caramel would not harden right away once it touches the pan.) See video below.
2. While still hot and fluid, swirl to distribute the caramel to the sides and bottom of the pan.
3. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool and let the caramel solidify.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer (alternatively, you may use the oven, heated to 295 degrees).
5. Mix the rest of the ingredients while heating the steamer (or oven) using the pulse setting in a blender (push the pulse button for about 3 seconds 3 times or until the mixture appears homogenous). Avoid prolonging the blending such that it creates lots of bubbles.
6. When steamer (or oven) is ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
7. Cover with foil before placing in steamer (If using oven, place the pan uncovered into a larger pan with water such that water reaches about 1 inch up the sides of of the leche flan pan- aka water bath). Steam for 30 minutes on medium heat (or bake for about 1 hr at 295 deg F).
8. Check for doneness (I prefer wiggling it rather than using toothpick. If it wiggles at the center pretty much like jello, that is done for me. If it is too fluid, I steam/bake some more.).
9. Let cool before serving (I prefer it chilled for 3 days with foil cover before eating. My in-laws and husband prefer it fresh from the oven).
10. Run a knife around the edges of the flan. Invert onto a deep platter (or pan) to serve.
P.S. This and other recipes were featured in Hannaford fresh magazine (article on page 10) for the May-June 2007 issue, but they revised some of my recipes (probably because they deemed the revisions would cater better to their general readers).
UPDATE as of 4/2/09: Here's a comment from Anna of France (she made the comment under Custard Cake):
i tried your leche flan recipe,and its perfect recipe,leche flan using egg whites,napa wow talaga ako sa texture nya..so creamy, and you are right na super rich talga pag eggyolks lang..thank you atlast my recipe na ako sa leche flan na hindi ma waste ang whites.;
thank u so much for being so kind sharing recipes like this.