Okay, I have figured out my recipe for Condensada Flan a la Marketman. Here are six versions of the dessert, and if you read through to the bottom of this post, you will know which one I thought was the best of them all. Now I completely understand that roughly 50% of marketmanila’s readers are partial to a Condensada Flan rather than a real Leche Flan, with its attendant texture and flavor; so I have endeavored to come up with a recipe that is sufficiently delicious and with hopefully full proof instructions/tips for even a novice flan cook. But I reiterate that I suspect many of that 50% would change their mind after they try a well-done cow’s cream or carabao’s milk leche flan.
In this round, we did three llaneras made with a recipe that contained 7 egg yolks, one whole egg, 1 can Milkmaid Condensada and one can of Alpine evaporated milk (three llaners on the left side of the photo above). Then I also tried three llaneras with a recipe that contained 6 whole eggs (yolks and whites), 1 can of Milkmaid Conensada and one can of Alpine evaporated milk (the three llaneras on the right side of the photo above).
For the line of three llaneras with mostly egg yolks, the first one is made in a bain marie in an oven at 320F for roughly 45 minutes, covered in foil. The second example is also in a bain marie in an oven at 320F without a foil cover. And the third one at the back is done in a steamer, covered in foil, at low heat.
For the line of three llaneras with whole eggs (including whites), the first one is done in a bain marie, covered in foil. The second example is also in a bain marie without a foil cover. And the third one at the back is done in a steamer, covered in foil, on low heat.
This one was the egg yolk recipe, in a bain marie and covered with foil. It was the second best version of the six tested under pretty good control factors. It was dense but smooth, still a little rubbery in my view, and a butterknife laid on the edge of the flan did NOT pierce the flan, and the same was true for all other examples in this batch. A butter knife would pierce a milk or cream version.
Less hassle and possibly just a hair more delicious was this version of mostly egg yolks, in a bain marie and no need for a foil cover. It was unanimously judged the BEST of all the six tried this day. The bain marie method is, in my opinion, less troublesome and yields superb results, if you have an oven. This was the recipient of the current “Condensada Flan a la Marketman” award.
Finally, of the egg yolk heavy recipe, this one was steamed in as low a flame as possible, covered in foil. The flame wasn’t low enough, but the results were still very good for the de lata group of leche flans. Note some slight bubbling in the flan on this one, a sign of too high heat still. But overall, the flans made with egg yolks all surpassed the ones with egg whites, in texture, flavor and appearance. The line of three above had a gorgeous top and caramel sheen.
This is the first flan with whole eggs, done in a bain marie, covered. Even if the mixture was allowed to rest an hour, and strained carefully, and “tak-takked” gently against a towel on the counter and cooked in very gentle conditions, the flan itself still had noticeable bubbles. It was okay, but not as good as the mostly yolk versions. And the belief that egg whites made these “lighter” I would counter with it made it taste more “egg-whitier”. I am not a fan of whole egg leche flans after these recent experiments.
This is the second whole egg version, in a bain marie and uncovered with foil. This was significantly less liked than its mostly yolk partner described earlier.
And finally, the version with whole eggs done in a steamer looked the worst of them all. And maybe influenced by looks, we all felt it was the worst tasting as well. I just find that unless you have to, opt for a ban marie, as steaming takes a little more getting used to. Typically, the cooking method “steaming” in a recipe means a serious amout of steam from a rolling boil. In this case, when making leche flans, you want the water to release steam without really boling. It’s a pain in the rear to keep checking the pot to see if it is boiling (you can hear it up close) and adjusting the heat.
In the end, I would say I am definitely NOT a convert to Condensada Flans, as I definitely prefer the cream/carabao’s milk versions. And I think a taste-off is definitely interesting as folks with biases to one type or the other will get a chance to taste both side by side and decide which one they really prefer. But if you must have a condensada flan, I think this is one of the best you can make. I am awarding my “Condensada Flan a la Marketman” to the mostly egg yolk version (all organic eggs), with Milkmaid condensada, and Alpine evaporada in a bain marie without a foil cover at 320F for roughly 45 minutes or so. This version might impress many of you “condensada flan” afficionados out there. But technique matters, and a a slight mishap on steaming or cooking will dramatically change the quality of the final product. And by the way, you guys are fooling yourselves if you think this is much cheaper than using fresh milk… because up soon is a post on flans made with fresh carabao’s milk and I think they cost the same if not less than the condensada versions… And from my experience, it’s harder to find cows that make Milkmaid and Alpine milk than it is to find carabaos!!! :)