Monday, July 17, 2006

Leche Flan (Caramel Custard)

Photo by: Bing Ramos

ORIGIN AND HISTORY: Its exact origin is not known. However, this product is very popular all over the PHILIPPINES. It is a specialty served at parties.

Raw material: Fresh milk
Additives: Condensed milk, egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon zest and sugar.
Type: LECHE FLAN is a dessert similar to a cream caramel. It is a jelly-like product, homogeneous in texture, which has a sweet taste and that smells like vanilla flavor and lemon rind.
Consistency: Soft

TECHNOLOGY: One cup of brown sugar is dissolved in 1/4 cup of water and is heated over medium heat until the sugar caramelises. A suitable size mould is lined with the caramel evenly and it is set aside. Then, 2 cups of fresh milk are heated to the boiling point and cooled to warm temperature. Eight egg yolks and vanilla extract are added to the boiled milk and well mixed. One tin of condensed milk is added to the mixture which is strained through a coarse cheese cloth and poured into the caramel lined mould. The mould is placed in a big pan half filled with water and is baked until the mixture becomes firm. The product is cooked before removing from moulds. In general this product is marketed in the mould covered with a cellophane.

REMARKS: It is usually stored in refrigerator to improve its firmness and protect it from insects. Its shelf life is 3-5 days at room temperature and 2-3 weeks if it is kept in refrigerator. (From Leche Flan)

Leche flan is known also known as Créme caramel. Créme caramel is a variant of plain custard (créme) where some caramel syrup is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. After the custard has set, it is turned out, leaving a caramel sauce on top. Creme Bruleé is also almost the same, same creaminess but with the sugar burnt on top

One of my favorite desserts. So easy to make and so hard to resist. There are a lot of variations in making this creamy concoction. Others add the egg whites with the egg yolks while others add cream instead of milk. Any which way, whatever suits your preference is the best choice. I love mine with all egg yolks and condensed milk. I use the egg whites for meringue...and that is another story (coming soon).

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