Leche flan

Leche flan

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

My Tito Ephraim and Tita Malou are endlessly hospitable, which may explain a recent move into hospitality and the construction of their resort, Infinity Resort, in nearby Puerto Galera. The beachside accommodation was the setting for their son’s nuptials. Weddings in the Philippines are a sight to behold, if only for the elaborate fiesta spread, where numerous desserts are laid out with savoury options. It is a treat for sweet lovers — there is no need to wait until the end.

This classic Filipino dessert is served at just about every fiesta. For the traditional oval shape, you’ll need ‘ilanera’ tins, which come in various sizes; otherwise regular moulds can be substituted. As with its counterpart, crème caramel, the hard caramel on the base of the pan softens to form a puddle of liquid gold around the flan once it is released.


Quantity Ingredient
110g caster sugar
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
400g condensed milk
375ml evaporated milk
dayap or lime zest strips, to garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the sugar in a saucepan over medium–high heat and cook for 3–4 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the sugar is a deep amber caramel. Pour into 2 to 4 ilanera tins or a loaf tin and swirl to evenly coat the bases. Set aside for the caramel to harden.
  2. Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the condensed milk and evaporated milk and beat until well combined. Strain through a fine sieve and divide between the tins. Cover tightly with foil.
  3. Place the tins in a large roasting tin and fill with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the tins. Bake for 20–25 minutes for ilanera tins or 50–60 minutes for the loaf tin, or until set. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate to firm.
  4. Run a knife around the flans to release them, then invert onto a platter to serve. Garnish with dayap zest strips, if desired.

What is it?

  • Spanish leche flan (literally ‘milk flan’) can be found throughout its former colonies. To the Philippines, the conquistadors also brought tocino del cielo, leche flan’s intensely rich little sister, made entirely of egg yolks, sugar and water (no milk).
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