I can so far think of three dishes that I am intimidated to make. These would be paella, kare-kare, and leche flan.
But since I am again on a roll to challenge my culinary boundaries, I decided to conquer my fear of the leche flan tonight!
I’ve avoided making leche flan for a number of reasons. What intimidates me the most, I believe, is the need to separate the egg yolks from the whites — and the waste of egg whites in the process. I also find it more convenient to just buy it. Since the early 1990’s, our family has enjoyed the leche flan from Goldilock’s. Of course, it’s smooth, soft, creamy, and quite dense — none of those small holes. I have also grown to like the leche flan served from time to time at our building’s canteen. And of course, I love leche flan when it is served with halu-halo. An uncle of mine makes really good leche flan, and is a hit among his peers in the US. Still, his relatives in the Philippines have not tasted it (wink, wink! hint! hint! hehehe)
Since I wanted to get the recipe fast, I just searched for it in the Internet and clicked on the first or second search result.
The recipes posted on the Internet for leche flan are generally the same, so I am not posting them anymore. However, to make put my own twist on the recipe, I added some ground cinnamon powder and some orange zest on the caramel.
I also ended up using brown sugar instead of white because we ran out of it. The recipe I got from the Internet wasn’t clear on how thick the caramel should be when the water boils with the sugar. So before all the water evaporated, I turned off the heat and put it in the mould already. It really wasn’t thick, and I worried about the custard mixing with it. But surprisingly, the caramel settled below. Thank goodness!
I distributed the mixture into two containers. I put them in a larger bowl filled with water, and put them in the oven. It at this point when my real problems began. The recipes says that the flan should be cooked within an hour. But after an hour, the two containers I placed in the oven were nowhere cooked (take note that I put the containers in the oven at 12 midnight). Still nothing at 1:30. So what I did was to get the first container, the usual aluminum container out of the oven, and transferred it to a pot. I used the stove instead and got it done. Thank heavens.
I didn’t wait too long for the first batch to cool. I removed it from the mold only after a few minutes. What came out was very good. It was as creamy, rich, and dense as I wanted it to be. The brown sugar was all right, although the ground cinnamon really did not spell a difference. Still, the orange zest did! Yum-O!
Meanwhile, as of this writing, the second batch is still a disaster. The big mistake of the night was placing the custard in a pyrex container instead of the aluminum container. Big mistake. It has been three hours, and still no flan. So, be warned. I attempted to transfer it to a stove, like the first batch but to no avail. It’s now in the oven, in direct heat, and is now just an experiment.
Well, it just comes to show that nobody’s perfect. Let me just then charge this to experience. Always use aluminum containers!
All things considered, personally, making leche flan is not worth the trouble. At least, I could now say that I’ve more or less made one successful batch of leche flan. Hehe.
Finally time to sleep. Good night!
Update: I have just removed the second batch from the oven. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected after all. One, it still looked like leche flan, except that the caramel had already surfaced from the bottom because it boiled inside the oven, and risen to the surface. It even tasted the same as the first batch. All I can say is (considering that I am bordering on being groggy, as it is 3:27 a.m.): Weird! If the second batch had stayed longer in the oven, I bet it would have turned out as egg pie and not leche flan.
Buti na lang masarap pa rin ang kinalabasan ng second batch. Still, I’m buying leche flan the next time I want to eat it.