Recipe for Leche Flan: The Filipino Version of Creme Caramel

Filipino Leche flan

The Spruce

 

Ratings (70)
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 12
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
429 Calories
13g Fat
66g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 12
Amount per serving
Calories 429
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 238mg 79%
Sodium 214mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 66g 24%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 14g
Calcium 286mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The world calls this dessert Spanish flan but, in the Philippines, it is leche flan. Leche, Spanish for milk, is one of the dessert's two main ingredients. Made with egg yolks, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk, Filipino leche flan is a rich steamed custard topped with a syrupy caramel. It is one of the most popular desserts served at parties, fiestas and other special occasions. This sweet dish is also popular in some Latin American and Caribbean countries. Among the Hispanic population of North America, leche flan is also known as creme caramel.

About Leche Flan

Leche flan is steamed, not baked. The caramel topping of leche flan is a syrup made by melting sugar directly in the pan where the custard will be steamed.

There are only two cooking steps involved in making leche flan. The first is caramelizing the sugar; the second is steaming the caramelized sugar and custard together.

Leche flan can be cooked in one large shallow bowl and cut into squares or wedges to serve. Alternatively, it can be cooked in smaller single-serve ramekins. Leche flan is perfect by itself, but it can be served in many other ways. It is a popular topping for iced desserts like maiz con hielo and halo-halo.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Leche Flan recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. In a heavy thick-bottomed pan, melt the sugar over medium heat until it liquefies and turns an amber color. There is no need to stir the sugar but swirling the pan occasionally helps make a smoother and crystal-free syrup.

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Once the syrup acquires the color of amber, quickly remove it from the heat and pour into the ramekin (or ramekins) to cover the bottom. Caramelized sugar hardens as it cools and you need to work fast to transfer the syrup to the ramekins before it hardens in the pan. 

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Start heating water in a steaming pot.

  5. In a mixing bowl, lightly stir the eggs yolks.

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Pour in the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Add the salt and lemon zest. Stir until the mixture is evenly blended. Stir, do not beat nor mix too hard, to avoid forming air bubbles in the mixture. 

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Pour the egg yolk-milk mixture into the ramekin (or ramekins).

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Steam over simmering water for 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the cooking vessel. The leche flan should be set and firm to the touch.

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Remove the ramekin (or ramekins) from the heat. Cool the leche flan then chill. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the flan then invert onto a serving plate or individual dessert plates.

    Leche Flan recipe
     The Spruce

Note: some of the syrup will flow down the sides of the flan and form a pool on the plate. That is how it should be.