Leche is a Spanish word meaning milk, and when you say leche flan, this is a famous Filipino dessert made of milk and egg yolks, simply put – custard, which is usually served during fiestas, parties and any other happy occasion you can think of.  There are several versions of this from different countries and this recipe is from the Philippines and is a heavier version of the Spanish one.

My grandmother used to make this. Unfortunately, before I had a love affair with cooking, she passed away and most of the traditional recipes she knew, she never got to teach me. But luckily, I found this recipe in one of the cooking magazines published here monthly, and every Christmas, I make this yummy dessert.

And here is the recipe:

12 egg yolks, placed in a big bowl

2 300-ml cans sweetened condensed filled milk

1 370-ml can evaporated filled milk

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)


1  To the bowl of yolks, add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla, in that order. Pour in each ingredient slowly and mix gently until the mixture is smooth. Stick to one stroke as you mix and do it slowly, to avoid creating bubbles. Bubbles will make the surface of the flan uneven. Set aside. Prepare the sugar syrup. (See below)

My ever loyal egg yolk separator

A dozen egg yolks without the egg whites

2  Pour the egg mixture in the mold with sugar syrup. Cover each mold with aluminum foil. Cook in the steamer for 45 minutes. To know if the flan is cooked, dip a toothpick into it. If no flan particles stick to the toothpick, it’s cooked and ready.

This is what I usually use when making leche flan – aluminum oval molds

3  When cooked, refrigerate the flan. It’s best served cold.

To make the sugar syrup

Melt sugar in the molds over low fire. Using tongs, move the molds in a clockwise motion to avoid burning the sugar. Don’t wait for the crystals to turn brown, just let it melt. Then pour the egg mixture in to cook the flan. How much sugar? For each typical medium-sized oval mold, use 1/2 tablespoon sugar to make the syrup. For a small round mold, use 1 teaspoon sugar. Like it sweeter? Just add more sugar.

I used an 8 inch cake mold last year. Guess what? Even before I could take a picture someone already cut out a piece…

Steaming tip  If you’re using a conventional steamer, make sure that heat is on boiling point before you set the flans. Keep them on boiling point for 30 minutes then let cook on medium fire for another 15 minutes.

The traditional recipe does not include the egg whites to the mixture, because this lessens the creaminess of the flan and makes it ‘bubbly’; but some people do this, especially those sold in bakeries. Also, the usual recipe does not include vanilla, but if you feel like adding this ingredient, go ahead – vanilla will make the flan taste more heavenly. This is a sinful dessert – very sweet and not for diabetics, seriously.