In the Philippines, flan is known as leche flan (the local term for the originally Spanish flan de leche, literally "milk flan"), which is a heavier version of the Spanish flan made with condensed milk and more egg yolks. Leche flan is usually steamed over an open flame or stove top, although rarely it can also be seen baked. Leche flan is a staple in celebratory feasts.
A heavier version of leche flan, tocino del cielo, is similar, but has significantly more egg yolks and sugar.
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- Caramelize the sugar in an 8-inch round aluminum pan over low heat (#3 on my stove setting). You may swirl the pan around (use tongs to hold) or stir with a spoon once it starts to melt. It can easily scorch and will be bitter if that happens, so keep an eye on that (takes about 20-30 mins before it start melting, and I prefer a bit of bitterness like that of coffee).
- While still hot and fluid, swirl to distribute the caramel to the sides and bottom of the pan.
- Place the pan on a wire rack to cool and let the caramel solidify.
- Meanwhile, prepare the steamer (alternatively, you may use the oven, heated to 295 degrees).
- Mix the rest of the ingredients while heating the steamer (or oven) using the pulse setting in a blender (push the pulse button for about 3 seconds 3 times or until the mixture appears homogenous). Avoid prolonging the blending such that it creates lots of bubbles.
- When steamer (or oven) is ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Cover with foil before placing in steamer (If using oven, place the pan uncovered into a larger pan with water such that water reaches about 1 inch up the sides of of the leche flan pan- aka water bath). Steam for 30 minutes on medium heat (or bake for about 1 hr at 295 deg F).
- Check for doneness (I prefer wiggling it rather than using toothpick. If it wiggles at the center pretty much like jello, that is done for me. If it is too fluid, I steam/bake some more.).
- Let cool before serving (I prefer it chilled for 3 days with foil cover before eating. My in-laws and husband prefer it fresh from the oven).
- Run a knife around the edges of the flan. Invert onto a deep platter (or pan) to serve.