DSC07003(Chicago) – I don’t understand why I keep renewing my membership to Costco every year. For a single person living in a cramped high-rise apartment, it does not make sense to stock up on groceries. I can’t even find enough space for my shoes. No matter how much thinking and mental decisions I make to drop my membership off, I still find myself in the counter with piles of boxes of granolas and family-sized bags of whatever munchies; paying $50 renewal fee, year after year.

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The consequence: lots of food that I really don’t need in my fridge and pantry. The sub-consequences: lots of expired goods and lots of extra pounds around my waist. I can easily manage the excess weight since I work out regularly. However, I need to do something about my stocks of food getting expired. To start off: 2 big trays of fresh eggs.

Omelet and frittata are reserved only for Sunday brunches. I still have more eggs to consume before they turn bad.

One night I spent some time with my friends in a nearby Mexican restaurant. The cilantro in the caldo de res was so strong and my tongue was craving for something sweet. The server heard my dissatisfaction and offered a flan for free. Eureka! A flan! It all dawned on me; I can make the Filipino version of this custard, “leche flan”.

How come I didn’t think of leche flan right away when I was staring at the eggs the other day?! Leche flan is one of the most popular desserts in my hometown and almost all Filipino restaurants in Chicago have leche flan in their weekly buffet spread.

The first and last time I made leche flan was out of necessity and turned into a total disaster. I was rushed and distracted then. And I ended up having over-cooked, almost burnt, custard. The ingredients are minimal and the procedure is straight-forward. All it requires, perhaps, are focus and grace; full attention on timing and finesse in stirring the mixture.

 

Leche Flan

Custard:

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
  • 12 oz soy milk or just regular milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind

 Caramel:

  •  1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all custard ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Using a whisk, stir the mixture. Be gentle to prevent bubbles from forming
  4. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes to bring out flavor of lemon rind
  5. While waiting, put sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  6. Caramelize over medium heat until it thickens
  7. Pour a little caramel in each ramekin or aluminum mould
  8. Brush the caramel around the sides and bottom of the mould
  9. Strain the custard mixture for smoother consistency
  10. Pour custard in the each mould. Don’t fill the mould to the brim.
  11. Put the moulds in a larger baking pan half filled with simmering water
  12. Bake for about 1 – 1 ½ hours until mixture is firm

** To check if custard is cooked perfectly, insert a toothpick in the custard and it should come out clean.

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