Sorry fans of condensada flan, leche flan made with milk/cream or carabao’s milk just beats condensada flan by a mile, in my personal opinion. :) One of our company lawyers, who is based in Bohol, was so intrigued by the current posts on leche flan, that he sent me a text the other day to say he had found a source for carabao’s milk. If I was agreeable, he would bring several liters of carabao’s milk and we could experiment with leche flan at the Cebu office. Of course I said YES! He arrived with 4 liters of freshly gathered carabao’s milk (but pasteurized to kill off cooties), and two liters of chocolate flavored carabao’s milk from the Philippine Carabao Center’s outpost in Bohol, some 100+ kilometers from Tagbilaran. The chocolate flavored milk disappeared in less than an hour as the office crew thought it was utterly fantastic.
I was ready with eggs, sugar and llaneras and within an hour mixed up a batch of leche flan. I used 15 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, 1 and 3/4 cup of white sugar and mixed this until combined. I added 3 cups of carabao’s milk and stirred until well mixed. I let this sit for about 30 minutes while I prepared the caramel for the llaneras. This recipe made enough for 4 llaneras. We couldn’t find organic eggs in Cebu on short notice so these were supermarket eggs, graded LARGE. I strained the mixture into the llaneras, and since we have no oven at the office, we covered these with foil and steamed them on the stove.
Following reader suggestions in earlier leche flan posts, I didn’t really let the water boil, more like just letting off steam but no active boil. After about 35-45 minutes, we took the flans out and they looked utterly brilliant. Lighter than other flans but smooth as a baby’s butt. We couldn’t wait for them to spend a few hours in the fridge so we turned one over just an hour after cooking, and while much of the caramel stayed in the pan, enough came out with the flan. THIS WAS SUPERB. DEFINITELY one of the BEST flans I have ever made. A good 9.7 out of 10.0 on the marketman point scale. Soft, creamy but not too rich, flavorful and not overly sweet. VERY, VERY GOOD FLAN.
Every single person in the office, most of whom were used to condensed milk flans were pleasantly shocked by this version. It was so good that 7 people finished four newly cooked flans, and I had just two small spoonfulls. We put another three flans in the fridge and after an overnight rest, I turned them over onto the platter up top. The funky shearing on the surface is due to the reflected branches and leaves above that were swaying in the wind.
The chilled version had firmed up just a bit and the overall impact was smoother and more luxurious. Yum. And this is with a steamer not a ban marie that I suspect would yield an ever better final product. And I didn’t have lemon peel or dayap or vanilla to add flavor either. Didn’t even use organic eggs. If you plan to make this version but can’t get carabao’s milk, replace the three cups of milk with half whole milk and half heavy cream. I would pit this version of leche flan against a condensada flan any day… And as for making this imported dessert really pinoy, how much better could it be than with the use of carabao’s milk, which is definitely a local ingredient and wonderful twist to the well-known dessert?