Flan de leche is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top. A legacy of the Spanish, this dessert is very popular not only in the Philippines and Cuba, but throughout the world. It’s also known as leche flan, creme caramel, caramel pudding, custard pudding and many other names.
There are many ways of making this delicious dessert, but the one I am sharing here is the one I like the best. It’s a combination of the traditional recipe used in Cuba and the Philippines.
In the Philippines, flan de leche is known as leche flan which literally means “milk flan”. It’s the heavier version of the Spanish flan, made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. Flan is usually steamed over an open flame or stove top, but it can also be baked. It’s the staple dessert in many occasions and “fiesta” events. Cuban flan de leche is made with the addition of two egg whites and the flavoring of a cinnamon stick.
Caramel syrup is widely considered to be the best part of the entire dish!
The caramel should be cooked until it’s dark, reddish-brown or amber-colored. It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but anyone can master it in a few tries.
The caramel syrup is poured into the mold before adding the custard base.
If you’re using a large baking dish, be extra careful when turning over the flan as the custard can easily be broken up. The large baking dish also requires more attention when baking to avoid over or under cooking. I actually prefer using medium size ramekins when making flan for my family. When we have company coming over, I use a large baking dish like in the picture below.
Hope you enjoy this recipe no matter how you make it!
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 cups of milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. of ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. of lime juice
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Use 1 cup of sugar to caramelize in saucepan. Pour over a baking dish and set it aside.
- Beat the eggs and egg yolks together. Add the milk, ½ cup sugar, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick and lime juice. Whisk them well.
- Pour the custard mixture into the mold.
- Place the mold in a large pan and add enough hot water to cover half the height of the baking dish.
- Bake for 1¼ hours, or until the custard is almost set but still slightly soft in the center. You can also insert a toothpick in the custard and it's ready when it comes out clean.
- Remove the mold from the water and allow it to cool before putting in the refrigerator to chill.
- To unmold, run a small sharp knife around the edges of the mold to loosen the custard. Turn the flan over a serving plate and let the caramel drizzle over the flan.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
- In a heavy saucepan, put the sugar and place it over a medium heat. Make sure to stir or swirl it gently to avoid the sugar from burning.
- Another way is, put the sugar in a metal mold and place it directly on the burner over medium heat. Make sure to stir or swirl it gently to avoid the sugar from burning.
- It's ready when the sugar is melted and turns into deep amber. Pour the caramel into the baking dish.
- You could also use 4 to 6 ramekins, instead of using one large baking dish.
- Flan is overcooked if you can see bubbles around the sides of the baking dish.